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EU Investigating Meta Over Child Safety

EU Investigating Meta Over Child Safety

Sarah Hardacre June 04, 2024
June 04, 2024
The European Commission has opened formal proceedings to investigate Meta and assess whether it has breached the Digital Service Act (DSA) regulations regarding the protection of minors.

The formal proceedings started following an analysis of Meta’s risk assessment report in September 2023, which does not signify any wrongdoing on Meta’s part. The commission will delve deeper into three key areas of how both Facebook and Instagram function to determine if there is any breach in regulations.

It will analyze whether the algorithm and user interactions on Facebook and Instagram create “addictive behavior, and/or reinforce so-called ‘rabbit hole’ effect,” which risks impacting the physical and mental well-being of children.

The Commission will also investigate whether Meta has implemented sufficient age verification tools to ensure minors are not exposed to inappropriate content.

Finally, the commission will review whether Meta has implemented “appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure a high level of privacy, safety, and security for minors.” For example, the EC will examine the default settings for accounts created by minors to ensure they are sufficiently protective.

The Commission has advised that it will carry out its investigation “as a matter of priority” but has provided no date for the expected outcome. During the investigation, the commission is empowered to release interim measures and accept commitments from Meta to remedy any issues.

The DSA is a set of regulations that aims to ensure that European residents have access to a safe digital space in which their fundamental rights are protected and in which there is a fair and level playing field for all parties. The DSA came into effect in August 2023 and works in tandem with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which came into effect earlier this year and focuses on the behaviors of “gatekeeper” platforms.

In addition to these proceedings, the Commission also opened an investigation on April 30, 2024, to review “Meta’s policies and practices relating to deceptive advertising and political content on its services.”

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