The EU brought into effect its Digital Services Act (DSA) on Friday, marking the beginning of a new era of online regulation — and what some predict will be more censorship.
The main goal of the DSA is to enforce safer online environments.
But critics are skeptical that the new law is a power grab disguised as a safety law.
Online platforms in the EU are now legally required to implement mechanisms for preempting and eliminating posts containing illicit products, services, or material.
Such material includes “hate speech” and “disinformation,” according to whatever the EU determines falls under those categories.
Most social media companies have their own safety-related policies regarding what gets posted on their platforms, but this law now requires they comply with what the EU says isn’t allowed.
Social media companies including X, Meta, and Tiktok and YouTube are now required to follow the DSA. Companies that do not follow the DSA will be subject to significant fines.
It’s unclear, however, if all companies will comply with the law. Andrew Torba, CEO of American social media company Gab, said on Friday that he will not follow any legal requirements outside of the USA.
Liberals increasing internet regulation
In 2021, the Trudeau Liberals tried to rush through their own online hate speech law via Bill C-36.
The bill proposed to create new regulatory bodies to oversee the regulation of social media platforms and other online services.
However, the Liberals scrapped the Bill following consultations with various groups. This said, the feds have since managed to pass two other online regulatory laws. The first, Bill C-11, is wrapped in equity-quotas, effectively changing what Canadians see through streaming services like Netflix. The other, Bill C-18, resulted in Meta blocking all news from Canadians.