New Online Content Regulations in the EU: What Icecat’s Clients Need to Know

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Our data clients should be aware of the recent news that the European Commission (EC) is imposing new online content regulations on 19 large online platforms and search engines. Many of these are Icecat clients. Although these regulations are on itself not directly affecting Icecat’s product content, it might affect the way it is presented to consumers. The EC regulations will come into effect on August 25, and the companies will have four months to comply fully. Failure to comply with the new rules could result in fines of up to 6% of a provider’s annual revenue.

The affected 19 platforms by these regulations are Google, Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, TikTok, Twitter, Wikipedia, Alibaba AliExpress, Booking.com, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and German online retailer Zalando. Smaller platforms run by SMEs or local platforms are excluded from the oversight by the EC.

One significant change that comes with these regulations is a ban on targeted advertising using sensitive data such as ethnic origin, political opinions, or sexual orientation. Affected companies also need to comply with new online content moderation requirements, transparency rules, and protections for minors. For example, platforms should avoid to engage in targeted advertising based on profiling towards children.

Additionally, the regulated companies have to provide their first annual risk assessment on August 25. And, their risk mitigation plans will be subject to independent audits and oversight by the EC. Platforms will need to identify, analyze, and mitigate a wide array of systemic risks. These risks range from how illegal content and disinformation can be amplified on their services to the impact on freedom of expression and media freedom.

The new regulations promote greater accountability and transparency among the platforms and search engines. Among others, the platforms have to mitigate the online risks around gender-based violence, protection of minors, and their mental health.

In conclusion, it is essential for our significant e-commerce and product content clients to be aware of these new regulations. The consequences of non-compliance could be severe. It is critical for our larger users to keep abreast of these changes and adapt their strategies accordingly. Also, for exempted platforms, it is still important to anticipate future expansions of the list of 19.

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