EU singles out 19 tech giants for online content rules

BRUSSELS, April 25 (Reuters) – Five Alphabet (GOOGL.O) subsidiaries, two Meta Platforms (META.O) units, two Microsoft (MSFT.O) businesses, Twitter and Alibaba’s (9988.HK) AliExpress are among 19 companies subject to landmark EU online content rules, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said on Tuesday.

The rules known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) require the companies to do risk management, conduct external and independent auditing, share data with authorities and researchers and adopt a code of conduct by August.

The 19 companies include Alphabet’s Google Maps, Google Play, Google Search, Google Shopping and YouTube, Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, Amazon’s (AMZN.O) Marketplace and Apple’s App Store.

The others are Microsoft’s two units Linkedin and Bing, (BKNG.O)Pinterest (PINS.N)Snap Inc’s (SNAP.N) Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Wikipedia, Zalando (ZALG.DE) and Alibaba’s (9988.HK) AliExpress.

“We consider these 19 online platforms and search engines have become systematically relevant and have special responsibilities to make the internet safer,” Breton told reporters.

The companies will have to do more to tackle disinformation, give more protection and choice to users and ensure stronger protection for children or risk fines as much as 6% of their global turnover.

Breton said he was checking to see whether another four to five companies fall under the DSA, with a decision expected in the next few weeks.

Breton singled out Facebook’s content moderation system for criticism because of its role in building opinions on key issues.

“Now that Facebook has been designated as a very large online platform, Meta needs to carefully investigate the system and fix it where needed ASAP,” he said.

Twitter and TikTok also showed up high on Breton’s radar.

“At the invitation of Elon Musk, my team and I will carry out a stress test live at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco,” he said.

“We are also committed to a stress test with TikTok which has expressed also interest. So I look forward to an invitation to Bytedance’s headquarters to understand better the origin of Tiktok,” Breton said.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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