Disinfo Update 09/09/2019

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The Brussels’ Corner

The extremely likely proposal of a new Digital Services Act (DSA) in the second half of 2020 has already kicked off interest with the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) outlining it as a policy priority. IMCO stated the need for ‘preserving and enforcing the single market freedoms, transparency and accountability, content moderation, better articulation of responsibilities and duty of care of intermediaries, as well as the notice and take-down mechanisms’. It is expected that the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) will also vie for influence. 

S&D MEP Petra Kammerevert said that the leaked Commission’s plans (see pp.24-25) to regulate the online ecosystem through the DSA, may obscure how the EU deals with rights such as ‘freedom of expression and diversity of opinions’, to which DG CONNECT’s Director-General Roberto Viola replied that this is ‘a delicate issue’, while guaranteeing that a phased approach to the DSA will be followed. 

According to Politico, Czech nominee Věra Jourová will likely get the Rule of Law portfolio, which encompasses related issues such as disinformation and hate speech. Rumour has it the Danish nominee and former Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager will receive the Digital portfolio. These European Commission appointments are expected to be confirmed tomorrow.

Rupturing the Monopoly?

U.S. federal states have announced plans to launch a Facebook and Google antitrust investigation that will scrutinise the tech companies’ dominance in the industry and the anti-competitive conduct stemming from that dominance. In particular, the investigation will ‘determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising’. Interestingly, this comes at the moment of Facebook releasing a white paper on data portability, which details their aim to take the lead in giving consumers more autonomy and choice in deciding whether to take their data to another platform, as well as outlining the challenges relating to this. In July, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission released the results of a similar inquiry.

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