LONDON (AP) — The European Union is set to propose new laws to rein in the power of big tech companies, including measures to ensure customers are protected, smaller rivals are treated fairly, and illegal content is dealt with, the bloc’s digital and antitrust chief said on Thursday.
Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager outlined two draft laws that the EU’s executive Commission plans to introduce in early December. They amount to a sweeping overhaul of digital regulations, though the final version will depend on negotiations with the EU Parliament and the bloc’s 27 member states.
The first, the Digital Services Act, aims to update EU e-commerce rules by making tech companies take more responsibility for dangerous products, such as requiring them to check sellers’ ID in order to weed out “dodgy traders.” But it will also place a greater onus on the companies to deal with illegal content such as hate speech, including reporting on what they’ve done to take down that material.
Vestager signaled that tech companies would have to reveal more about how they decide what users see, saying that they now have the power to guide political debates and protect or undermine democracy.
“They will have to tell us how they decide what information and what products to recommend to us, and which ones to hide – to give us the ability to influence those decisions, instead of simply having them made for us,” Vestager said. “And they have to tell us who’s paying for the ads that we see, and why we’ve been targeted by a certain ad.”