Government censorship of public online discourse in the West’s ostensibly liberal democracies has been largely covert until now, as revealed by the Twitter Files. But thanks to the EU’s Digital Services Act, it is about to become overt.
Next month, a little-known development will occur that could end up having huge repercussions for the nature of public discourse on the Internet all over the planet. August 25, 2023 is the date by which big social media platforms will have to begin fully complying with the European Union’s Digital Services Act, or DSA. The DSA, among many other things, obliges all “Very Large Online Platforms”, or VLOPs, to speedily remove illegal content, hate speech and so-called disinformation from their platforms. If not, they risk fines of up to 6% of their annual global revenue.
The Commission has so far compiled a list of 19 VLOPs and VLOSEs (Very Large Online Search Engines), most of them from the US, that will have to begin complying with the DSA in 50 days’ time:
- Alibaba AliExpress
- Amazon Store
- Apple AppStore
- Google Play
- Google Maps
- Google Shopping
Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs):
- Google Search
Smaller platforms will have to begin tackling illegal content, hate speech and disinformation from 2024 onwards, assuming the legislation is effective.
Ominously, as Robert Kogon reports for Brownstone.org (granted, not the most popular source of information on NC, but it’s a good, well researched piece), the DSA “includes a ‘crisis response mechanism’ (Art. 36) that is clearly modeled on the European Commission’s initially ad hoc response to the conflict in Ukraine and which requires platforms to adopt measures to mitigate crisis-related ‘misinformation.’”…