One month has passed since the implementation of two new major EU regulations aimed at regulating Big Tech. Despite some initial challenges, there is still a six-month grace period before these rules apply to other online platforms operating in the eurozone. The Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA) were imposed on giants like Meta (Facebook owner) and Google ahead of the official deadline in February. Wendy Hederman, a technology law partner at Mason Hayes & Curran, believes that this learning period for very large online platforms (Vlops) will be beneficial for other platforms that will be affected by the DSA next year. The DSA focuses on moderating and responding to illegal and harmful content, while the DMA restricts anticompetitive behavior. Breaches of these rules may result in significant fines, up to 6% of a company’s annual turnover. The recently launched Transparency Database already shows extensive content moderation efforts by various platforms.
However, there has been some resistance to these regulations. Amazon recently won a court ruling in its fight against being labeled as a Vlop under the EU tech rules. The company sought an interim measure to suspend certain DSA requirements until the court rules on its challenge. The court agreed with Amazon’s arguments, stating that the interim measures only maintain the status quo for a limited period. Amazon welcomed this decision and emphasized that it does not consider itself a Vlop. Wendy Hederman believes that the Amazon case is not an isolated incident and expects more litigation to occur before February. Each online platform operates differently, making it challenging to apply the provisions of the DSA to each individual platform.
In the meantime, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment in Ireland has published the general scheme of a Digital Services Bill 2023 to prepare for the new regulations. Media Minister Catherine Martin has also appointed John Evans as the digital services commissioner in Coimisiún na Meán, which will act as Ireland’s digital services coordinator under the DSA. As larger firms adapt to the new expectations, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Dara Calleary anticipates challenges for many businesses due to the volume and pace of new digital regulations. Ireland, being home to several tech giants’ European headquarters, will be closely watched in terms of how it adopts these regulations. Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon stated that her organization has already begun implementing the new rules to ensure proper moderation of harmful content and to maintain consumer choice on online platforms.
In addition to the DSA and DMA, tech firms may face further challenges as the EU plans to implement the AI Act in the coming months. Over 150 European companies have expressed concerns about excessive AI regulation jeopardizing their competitiveness.