EU Looks For Feedback In Regulating Tech Giants

European Union (EU) regulators want feedback from users and digital service providers before they craft new rules that could manage giant tech firms Google, Facebook, Amazon and Uber, Reuters reported.

The news service reviewed the survey to be sent to the public, digital services providers and the EU member countries. At 43 pages, the EU questionnaire is seeking information on topics such as the power of gatekeepers, online platforms’ liability for illegal or harmful content, gig workers and transparency around online advertising, the news service reported. 

The feedback is expected to provide the EU information as it drafts the Digital Services Act to replace a 20-year-old measure that governs online services in the 27-country bloc.

Respondents will be asked what they consider makes a company a gatekeeper, with options including having a large number of users or holding a trove of data, market share in terms of turnover, or how hard it is for users to switch to a competitor.

The EU has said the new measure will define online platforms’ responsibility and detail whether they should remove illegal or harmful content and products.

The survey illustrates that regulators are considering whether all online platforms, or only larger ones or those at particular risk of exposure to illegal activities by their users, should be subject to removal notices.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and Uber have said it’s impossible for them to police the internet and that it shouldn’t be their responsibility. Today, the eCommerce legislation says such intermediary service providers play a technical and passive role, Reuters reported.

In February, the Financial Times reported the EU rejected Facebook’s vision of how online content should be regulated, noting the social media company must assume more responsibility for illegal material on its platforms.

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg published “Charting the Way Forward: Online Content Regulation.” The 13-page opinion piece suggested there should be global, rather than national, policies on what is permissible and that internet companies should not face any liability for content on their platforms or free speech would be limited.

But EU industry commissioner Thierry Breton rebuked Facebook’s proposal, saying it was the tech firm’s responsibility to adapt to EU rules, rather than the other way around.