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Hello all, and happy Thursday!  

One of the more influential data privacy laws in the world (or at least data privacy-adjacent) just reached an important milestone; the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) is now in effect for "very large online platforms" and "very large online search engines."  

 In essence, this means the Googles and Metas of the world must moderate hate speech and disinformation on their respective platforms. While the DSA is primarily concerned with combating harmful content, it enters the privacy sphere in that it also requires VLOPs and VLOSEs (i.e., very large online platforms/search engines) to provide options for recommended content that does not rely on user profiling, to be transparent around digital advertising, and generally protect consumer rights. 

The DSA’s got teeth, too—businesses risk being fined up to 6% of their total worldwide annual turnover.  

 That being said, enforcement is a bit of a head-scratcher. The level of effort that it would take to moderate harmful content online seems enormous. And moderating harmful content requires a clear consensus on what content is considered harmful. What happens when VLOPs and VLOSEs’ idea of harmful content doesn’t match with what the regulators’ ideas of harmful content are? 

 Well, the developers of the DSA considered this issue.  

 The act addresses this concern by relying on “trusted flaggers”—entities with experience around identifying harmful content, most likely non-government organizations and advocacy groups. Still, it seems like content moderation on this scale will be messy.  

Watching this law and its enforcement in the next few years and months will be illuminating, both because smaller organizations will gradually become subject to the DSA as time goes on and because this regulatory approach to internet content moderation has never been tried before.  



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