It is done ! After the DMA, Europe voted for the DSA, a new part of its policy aimed at regulating the practices of the web giants.
On the Old Continent, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter will have to comply with very strict new rules. And beware of penalties if they don’t. Fomented by European Commissioner Thierry Breton, this project will put an end to the sometimes scandalous practices of web giants.
Concretely, what will change? What exactly are DSA and DMA? What penalties in case of breach. We will explain everything to you.
DSA, DMA: what is it?
The DMA and the DSA are two complementary components aimed at supervise the activity of the digital giants.
AMD means Digital Market Act. This text grouping around twenty rules is presented by the European authorities as a means of limiting the monopoly of large digital companies, including GAFAM (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft) as well as Twitter.
Other companies are also part of the batch but the final list is not yet established. The text explains that the companies concerned are those “providing platform services with a market capitalization of at least €75 billion or an annual turnover exceeding €7.5 billion”.
They must provide services such as “browsers, messaging or social media that have at least 45 million end users per month in the EU and 10,000 business users per year”.
The purpose of DMA is to enhance competition to give companies not the size of Google or Apple a chance to take part in the digital economy. The DMA is also reviewing the rules on targeted advertising.
DSA, he was concluded after the DMA. It signifies Digital Services Act. And if the discussions lasted longer, it is because the issues are more concrete for the users. It is this text that goes push the web giants to review their entire operation in Europe.
To simplify, the DSA aims to more severely punish the excesses of users on the web, by giving responsibility to GAFAM. Thus, faced with hate speech, for example, social networks will no longer be able to brandish the excuse of “we are only intermediaries”.
Concretely, what will change for users?
That’s all well and good, but how will all of this materialize on a daily basis for users? Let’s focus first on the changes involved with DMA. Upon its entry into force, the user may:
- freely choose your browser, virtual assistant or search engine
- remove all pre-installed applications on electronic devices
- choose your application store, including on iPhone. It’s a real blow for Apple, which will have to authorize the installation of alternative stores to the App Store.
- choose to freely integrate their means of payment into their smartphone. Here again, Apple will see red since it will have to open the NFC chip of the iPhone to systems other than Apple Pay
- send a message to its interlocutors from and to any service. For example, if we send a message from WhatsApp to a user who has iMessage, the messages must be able to be exchanged. This is called the interoperability of messaging platforms
The DSA also brings big changes in the daily lives of users. Here are the main changes made:
- prohibition for digital players to target advertising for children or based on sensitive data (sexual orientation, religion for example)
- openness of algorithms to authorities. A team of specialists (initially 150 according to Thierry Breton) will be able to analyze the sacrosanct algorithms of the platforms on request.
- the conditions of use must be understandable by all. No more 50 pages with tiny mentions at the bottom of the page.
- platforms (especially social networks) will have to set up moderation teams, capable of understanding the language of each country and who will have to ensure the application of the laws of reality in the virtual world. For example, hateful, racist comments, insults, harassment will all be comments that will be moderated by the platforms.
- social networks will have to integrate a simple reporting tool with an obligation to react quickly
- in the event of a crisis, digital players will have to react at the request of Europe
These are the main changes that the new European texts will bring. Other more technical rules are also part of the text, but do not necessarily have a direct impact on the daily lives of users. Be that as it may, if they don’t want to lose a market of 450 million users (larger than the United States), the web giants will have to comply.
When will these new rules be applied?
The DMA will come into effect before the DSA. Initially scheduled for January 2023, the application of the DMA rules will instead occur in the spring of 2023 according to the timetable put forward by the European authorities.
The DSA will be in place at the end of 2023, the time for the digital giants to review their copy. Indeed, the DSA implies in-depth changes in their policies, but also in their teams. As we explained above, digital players will have to expand their moderation teams, for example.
What are the penalties for not respecting the rules?
In the event of non-compliance with the rules of the DMA, the European Commission has provided for heavy sanctions. Thus, companies not playing the game will be fined up to 10% of the worldwide turnover of the previous financial year and up to 20% in the event of a recurrence.
Taking the example of Apple, which achieved a turnover of 365 billion dollars in 2021, the fine could reach 36.5 billion dollars. By comparison, Germany, the biggest contributor to Europe’s budget, contributed 38 billion euros in 2021.
And in the event of systematic infringement, the Commission also gives itself the right to prohibit the purchase of other companies for a given period.
Sanctions against companies who do not respect the rules of the DSA are equally severe. Fines for breach can reach up to 6% of global turnover. And in the event of repeated breaches, the European Union gives itself the right to outright ban a company from operating on the European market. In other words, the EU can decide to cut Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. in all European countries if the company does not comply with the rules.