Tech giants Meta and Snap are facing the heat as the European Commission issues formal requests for information (RFI) regarding their steps to ensure the safety of minors on their platforms. This move comes in line with the European Union's Digital Services Act (DSA), putting child protection at the forefront of regulatory oversight.
Notably, Meta's social networks, Facebook and Instagram, and Snap's messaging app Snapchat were among the 19 designated Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) back in April. While the DSA's full regime takes effect in February for smaller services, larger platforms like Meta and Snap are expected to already be DSA-compliant as of late August.
The RFIs directed at Meta and Snap delve into their compliance with obligations related to risk assessments and mitigation measures, particularly focusing on the impact on minors' mental and physical health. The companies have until December 1 to respond to the Commission's inquiries.
Snap, in response to the RFI, stated their commitment to providing a safe and positive experience for users, aligning with the goals of the EU and DSA. Meta echoed this sentiment, emphasizing their dedication to offering a secure online environment for teens.
Child protection isn't the only area of focus for the DSA. Meta recently received RFIs related to illegal content and disinformation risks concerning the Israel-Hamas war, as well as inquiries into steps taken for election security.
The European Commission's active enforcement of the DSA highlights priority areas such as child protection, illegal content, and disinformation. As the regulatory wheels turn, transparency reports from Very Large Online Platforms reveal insights into content moderation resources and linguistic capabilities, with some platforms facing scrutiny over resourcing disparities.
While the DSA's impact is still unfolding, these RFIs serve as a proactive step toward achieving transparency and accountability in the tech industry. The EU aims to usher in a new era of unprecedented transparency, holding tech giants accountable for their operations and fostering positive changes in the digital landscape.