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Digital Platforms and Markets Updates: the latest news from the European Commission | #5

Digital Platforms and Markets: a review of the latest updates from the European Commission

Digital Services Act: the European Commission requests information from Temu and Shein (June 28, 2024)

Following reports from several consumer associations, the Commission has requested renowned e-commerce platforms Temu and Shein to provide more information about the measures adopted to comply with legal obligations under the DSA, particularly concerning the “notice and action mechanism” (allowing users to report illegal products), the design of online interfaces (which should avoid “dark patterns”), the protection of minors, the transparency of recommendation systems, the traceability of operators, and compliance “by design”.

Both Temu and Shein, already designated as very large online platforms, must provide the requested information by July 12, 2024. Based on the evaluation of the responses, the Commission will decide whether to initiate formal proceedings against them.

Digital Services Act: initial cooperation activities of the European Commission with EU candidate countries (June 27, 2024)

The Commission and the EU candidate countries participated in a technical assistance and information exchange workshop as part of the DSA, implementing the EU’s enlargement policy.

Topics discussed ranged from assessing and mitigating risks to society, algorithmic auditing, independence requirements for national regulatory authorities, to operational processes such as certifying trusted flaggers and dispute resolution bodies.

EU Member States and candidate countries share social risks stemming from the operation of online platforms, such as risks from disinformation or the spread of illegal content online. Through this initiative, the EU aims to help businesses and regulators effectively mitigate major risks and accelerate progress on this crucial regulatory aspect.

Digital Services Act: fifth meeting of the European Digital Services Committee (June 25, 2024)

On June 20, 2024, DG CONNECT hosted the fifth meeting of the European Digital Services Committee. During the meeting, the Digital Services Coordinators (DSC) adopted the Board of Directors’ internal regulations and discussed the effects and outcomes of the European elections.

The Committee also reviewed with the Digital Services Coordinators the latest developments in accountability, particularly regarding ongoing activities, priorities to be considered, and the adoption of codes of conduct on disinformation and hate speech.

As part of organizing activities, the Board of Directors created the following working groups: WG 1 — Horizontal and legal issues; WG 2 — Working together; WG 3 — Content moderation and data access; WG 4 — Integrity of the information space; WG 5 — Consumers and online markets; WG 6 — Protection of minors; WG 7 — Orders and criminal issues; WG 8 — Cyber issues.

Digital Markets Act: the European Commission sends preliminary findings to Apple and launches further investigations (June 24, 2024)

The Commission informed Apple of its preliminary opinion that the organization of the App Store is not in line with the Regulation, as it prevents app developers from freely directing consumers to alternative channels for offers and content. Developers should be able to inform free of charge customers about cheaper purchase options, direct them to such offers and allow them to make purchases.

The Commission has also initiated a new non-compliance procedure against Apple for concerns that new contractual obligations for third-party app developers and app stores do not ensure effective compliance with the DMA. The contractual obligations under investigation include:

  • Apple’s Core Technology Fee, a €0.50 fee that third-party app and app store developers must pay for each app installed;
  • the multi-step process for Apple users to download and install alternative apps or app stores on iPhones;
  • eligibility requirements for developers to offer alternative app stores or distribute apps directly from the web on iPhones.

Digital Services Act: first transparency report deadline for Pornhub, XVideos, and Stripchat (June 24, 2024)

Following their designation as very large online platforms, Pornhub, XVideos, and Stripchat must publish their first transparency reports detailing the content control measures they have implemented.

The transparency reports include information on content moderation, such as the number of user reports received, the number of content items removed autonomously by the platforms, the number of orders received from national judicial or administrative authorities, and the accuracy and error rate of automated moderation systems.

The publication of the reports, required every six months, is an obligation introduced by the DSA for the benefit of citizens and regulators. The Commission is working on an implementing regulation to harmonize reporting periods and define templates for the format, content, and other details of transparency reports to ensure comparability and usability for all stakeholders.

Artificial Intelligence: the European Commission seeks industry contributions to applications in the financial sector (June 18, 2024)

The Commission has launched a targeted consultation, accompanied by a series of seminars, to gather stakeholder contribution on the use of artificial intelligence in the financial sector.

The initiatives cover use cases, benefits, obstacles, risks, and stakeholder needs.

The consultation, which will end on September 13, is open to all financial sector entities. The contributions received will allow the Commission to provide guidance to the financial sector for the implementation of the AI Act in their respective market segments.

Additionally, a series of seminars organized in collaboration with European and national supervisory authorities will give stakeholders the opportunity to present projects and exchange information on the latest developments. Registration for the workshops, which will be held in the autumn, is open until July 26.

Press releases from the European Commission and related official documents can be consulted at this address.

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