Countries of the
European Union, on Saturday, came up with a new rulebook to rein in tech giants
such as Alphabet, the company that runs Google, and Meta, which runs Facebook.
The new rules require tech giants to crackdown on illegal content and also make
them cough up money to pay for regulators monitoring their compliance.

The purpose of the
new law, according to EU antitrust chief Margaret Vestager, is to ensure that what
is seen as illegal offline is also seen as illegal online. “We have a deal on
the DSA: The Digital Services Act will make sure that what is illegal offline
is also seen and dealt with as illegal online – not as a slogan, as reality,” tweeted

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The new rules
disallow targeted advertising aimed at children as well as on the basis of sensitive
identities such as gender, religion, race and political opinion. Dark patterns,
methods used online to make users give up sensitive data, have also been outlawed.

Companies are
required to pay 6% of their global turnover in case of violation and repeated
violations may cause them to lose their right to run their businesses in the
European Union.

Tech giants will
also have to pay 0.05% of their global annual revenue in order to fund regulators
who check their compliance to the new law.

Companies will
further have to take specific measures during a crisis. This rule was prompted
by the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the resultant disinformation.

Responding to the
new rules, Google said, “As the law is finalised and implemented, the details
will matter. We look forward to working with policymakers to get the technical
details right to ensure the law works for everyone.”  

The new rules seem
to be a realisation of some of the long-needed regulations for the digital
space. “Google, Meta and other large online platforms will have to act to better
protect their users. Europe has made it clear that they cannot act as
independent digital islands,” said Dita Charanova, an EU lawmaker who has been
calling for such rules for the last eight years.

However, the
exemption granted to medium-sized companies, is something that some EU
lawmakers have taken issue with. Martin Schirdewan, one such lawmaker, said, “Under
pressure from the conservatives, an exception rule for medium-sized companies
was integrated, this is a mistake,” reported Reuters.

“Due to the large
number of companies that fall under this definition in the digital sector, the
exception is like a loophole,” Schirdewan said.