Europe seizes on social media’s purging of Trump to bang the drum for regulation – TechCrunch

Big Tech’s decision to pull the plug on President Donald Trump’s presence following an attack by his supporters in the US capital last week has been seized as evidence in Europe – if evidence was needed – that laws have allowed the technology Market power and platform giants have to bear the consequences on the materials they want to grow and monetize.

I am writing Political tricksterThe European Commission’s Internal Markets Commissioner, Thierry Breton, describes the 6/1 strike at the heart of the American political establishment as the ‘9/11’ moment of social media – aka, the day the whole world wakes up to real-world influence There was uncontrolled online hate and lies.

Trump has since been booted from multiple digital services, and has also been a conservative social media app Parler Be different Failure to control violent threats one by one from the App Store and Google Play Trump supporters lashed out at the app In the wake of Facebook and Twitter crackdown.

At the time of writing, Parler is also ready to be is removed By its hosting provider AWS, while Stripe is reportedly pulled the plug On the ability of Trump supporters to use their payment tools to flee. (Although Stripe ignored TechCrunch’s email when this reporter asked in November if Trump was violating TOC using his payment instruments for his ‘election defense fund’ …)

“If there was anyone who still doubts that online platforms have become systemic actors in our societies and democracies, then the events of last week on Capitol Hill are the answer. What happens online simply does not live online: it is – and even ends – the result ‘in real life’, “Breton writes.

“Last week’s rebellion marked the endpoint of years of hate speech that provoked violence, disintegration and destructive tactics that were allowed to spread without restraint on well-known social networks. The unrest in Washington is proof that a powerful yet erratic digital space – reminiscent of the Wild West – has a profound impact on the very foundations of our modern democracies. “

The Europe Commission proposed a major update to the digital services and platform giant’s regulations in December, when it implemented it Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act – Saying that the content is offline and illegal is the same as the time taken by the activity to level the regulatory play area which is accepted online.

The Commission’s proposal also attempts to address the market power of tech giants with proposals for additional oversight and additional regulations for the largest platforms, which have caused the greatest social damage.

Unexpectedly, then, Breton had captured chaotic scenes in Washington to push the plan for this already formed technology policy – with his eye on domestic audiences of European governments and elected members of the European Parliament whose laws Support is required to pass and reboot. Digital rules of the region.

“The fact is that a CEO can pull the plug on the loudspeaker without a check and the balance is deteriorating. This not only confirms the power of these platforms, but it also demonstrates weaknesses in the way we organize our networks in the digital space.

“These last few days have made it more clear than ever that we cannot just stand idly by and rely on the good will of these platforms or the artistic interpretation of the law. We need to set the rules of the game and streamline the digital space with clear rights, obligations and safeguards. We need to restore trust in the digital space. It is a matter of survival for our democracies in the 21st century. “

The DSA will force social media to clean up its act on the content and to provide more enforcement powers to public obligations and to ensure the fundamental rights of all users while giving clear obligations and responsibilities to comply with these laws To avoid the risk of arbitrary decision-making. ” Are safe ”, Breton goes on to argue.

The commissioners directly address US lawmakers – calling on Europe and the US to join forces on Internet regulation and engage in negotiations aimed at engaging in negotiations, giving DSA a starting point for discussion I suggest So he is not wasting the opportunity for #MAGA-inspired anarchy to advance the geopolitical agenda for the European Union’s technical policy.

last month The commission indicated a willingness to work with the incoming Biden administration on a general approach to technical governance, saying it hoped to shape global standards for technologies such as the American counterpart AI, and big technology in other areas Will work to force you to be more responsible. And recent events in Washington seem to be playing into that hand – though it remains to be seen what the future is like Biden administration will approach to regulate large technology.

“DSA, which has been carefully designed to answer all of the above ideas at the level of our continent, can pave the way for a new global approach to online platforms – one that serves the common interest of our societies. By setting a standard and clarifying the rules, it has the potential to become a paramount democratic reform for generations to come, ”concludes Breaux.

Twitter’s decision to pull the plug on Trump (UK) also catches UK minister’s eye Matt Hancock, Former Secretary of State (now Health Secretary) for the digital brief. talking to BBC This weekend, he suggested that the unilateral decision “raises the question” of how big technology is regulated that will result in “consequences”.

“The scenes in the Capitol were visibly encouraged by President Trump – the scenes in the Capitol were terrible – and I am so sad to see that because American democracy is so proud. But there is something else that has changed, which is that social media platforms are now making editorial decisions. It is clear because they are choosing who should have the voice on their platform and what does not, ”he told the Andrew Mara program.

The BBC reports that Hancock told Sky News Twitter a ban on Trump also means social media platforms are making editorial decisions – which he said “Questions his editorial decisions and the way they are regulated.

During his time as Digital Minister, Hancock’s comments in 2018 are notable said The government will be forced to implement a code of conduct on social media platforms to force them to take action against online abuse.

More than two years later, the UK Security-focused plan Regulating the Internet still remains to be put before Parliament – but late last year, ministers committed to starting an online sThis year’s bill.

Under the plan, Techcom, the UK’s media regulator, will acquire new powers to oversee technology platforms – including the ability to impose fines for noncompliance with security-focused duty of up to 10% of the company’s annual turnover. is.

The proposal includes not just social media, but a variety of digital services. Larger platforms are also slated for the greatest responsibility for controlling content and activity. And – at least in its current form – the proposed legislation is intended to apply not only illegal content under UK law, but also an esoteric category of ‘harmful’ content.

Something that has become clear from the European Commission’s proposal – to deal with more subjective issues like disinfectants A beef-up (but still voluntary) code of practiceInstead, digital services are being baked into law. So the online speech looks to be an area of ​​emerging regulatory divergence in Europe, with the UK now out of the bloc.

Last year, the government said that large social media platforms – such as Facebook, Tickcock, Instagram and Twitter – are likely “There is a need to assess the risk of legal content or activity on their services’ a reasonably risky risk of causing significant physical or psychological Injury For adults under the upcoming Online Safety Bill.

Next, they have to clarify what kind of ‘legal but harmful’ content is acceptable on their platforms in their terms and conditions and apply it transparently and consistently, ” suggesting that Britain should make the platform In order to force, one must actually enact legislation. ‘Editorial’ decisions

Thus the results that Hancock has given suggest that more are coming to the Tech platform rather than ‘editorial’ decisions made in recent times.

However, it seems that the uneasy difference they make is between the technology platforms that have unilateral power to silence the US president in a jolt and the technical platforms being built to follow a pre-defined rule. K at the point of its own choosing — the order set by legislators and regulators.