EU launches investigation into Meta over potential Digital Services Act violations

The alleged violations involve Meta's policies and practices regarding deceptive advertising and political content across its services.

By  Storyboard18May 1, 2024 10:31 AM
EU launches investigation into Meta over potential Digital Services Act violations
There are concerns about the lack of an efficient third-party real-time civic discourse and election-monitoring tool prior to the European Parliament elections. (Representative Image: Dima Solomin via Unsplash)

EU regulators launched an investigation on April 30th to see if Meta violated the Digital Services Act (DSA).

In a press statement, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: "This Commission has created means to protect European citizens from targeted disinformation and manipulation by third countries. If we suspect a violation of the rules, we act. This is true at all times, but especially in times of democratic elections. Big digital platforms must live up to their obligations to put enough resources into this and today's decision shows that we are serious about compliance.”

The alleged violations involve Meta's policies and practices regarding deceptive advertising and political content across its services. Additionally, there are concerns about the lack of an efficient third-party real-time civic discourse and election-monitoring tool prior to the European Parliament elections. This arises as Meta deprecated its real-time public insights tool, CrowdTangle, without a suitable alternative.

As per the press release, the Commission further suspects that the mechanism for flagging illegal content on the services (“Notice-and-Action”) as well as the user redress and internal complaint-mechanisms are not compliant with the requirements of the Digital Services Act and that there are shortcomings in Meta's provision of access to publicly available data to researchers.

The initiation of proceedings stems from an initial review of the risk assessment report provided by Meta in September 2023, Meta's responses to the Commission's official Requests for Information (regarding illegal content and disinformation, data access, subscription for ad-free policy, and generative AI), publicly accessible reports, and the Commission's independent analysis.

The proceedings will focus on deceptive advertisements and disinformation, visibility of political content, the non-availability of an effective third-party real-time civic discourse and election-monitoring tool ahead of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament and other elections in various Member States and the mechanism to flag illegal content.


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First Published on May 1, 2024 10:31 AM

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