giants like TikTok, Twitter, Apple Store y Amazonamong others, announced user figures in the European Union (EU) on Friday that force them to submit to the bloc’s new regulations on internet surveillance.
All these platforms announced a number of users in the EU of more than 45 million, for which reason they must be governed from now on by the severe measures provided for in the Digital Services Law (LSD), which went into effect in November.
This group was also joined by the search units of Google, Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
In accordance with LSD regulations, platforms with more than 45 million users must undergo annual audits and explain the measures taken to prevent illegal content online.
The European Commission (executive arm of the EU) can also order them to disclose and explain their algorithms or databases, something that these platforms generally keep under lock and key.
Potential fines for any “Very Large Online Platform” (VLOP) or “Very Large Online Search Engine” (VLOSE) that fail to comply can be as much as 6% of their global annual revenue.
Platforms below the 45 million user threshold also have obligations, albeit less stringent and appropriate to their size and scope.
Not all of the affected platforms are American: Chinese-owned TikTok announced on Friday that it had 125 million active monthly users in the EU.
Some of those web giants reacted irritably to the introduction of the new rules and several merely indicated whether they were above the defined threshold, but without any precision.
Such was the case of Amazon and the Apple Store iOS application store, which were content to point out that the users of their services exceeded 45 million monthly.
The EU wants specific numbers
The Swedish music streaming site Spotify and the British OnlyFans -which transmits content of sex workers, among others- reported that they were below 45 million users.
So did the American dating app Tinder.
“We note with some concern that some platforms only published an estimate that they are below the threshold. This is not enough,” warned a spokesman for the commission, Johannes Bahrke.
“The rules are clear. A number is a number. We call on those platforms that have not yet done so to publish the numbers without delay,” he added.
The LSD – which is accompanied by another law, on Digital Markets (LMD) – introduced strict rules for giant digital companies to better protect EU consumers.
Its goal is to crack down on illegal content online, counter the online sale of products unsafe, better protect minors and increase transparency about internet services.
It also controls the use of user data.
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