May 23, 2022

EU law against hate on the internet: This is what platforms have to bear in mind.

‍Which platforms are affected?

Online intermediaries, e.g. Internet service providers, messaging services, marketplaces and social networks that offer their services in the EU single market, are affected by the new regulations. A distinction is made between large platforms, with more than 45 million users, and small platforms.

What do platforms have to expect?

Large platforms must set up complaints mechanisms, as well as out-of-court dispute resolution procedures. In addition, platforms will have to cooperate with "trusted whistleblowers" in the future and make their recommendation systems transparent. Online marketplaces must identify their merchants.

Penalties must be expected in the event of violations. Each member state will determine the penalties at its own discretion. In serious cases, the Commission itself will take action and can impose fines of 6% of the company's total annual turnover. In the last consequence, even the temporary suspension of the platform's services can be requested.

What applies to small platforms?

Small platforms are exempt from most of the regulations. Nevertheless, they also resort to new measures to put haters in their place on their platforms. By doing so, they reduce moderation efforts, make their platform more attractive to trusted accounts, and even bring discussions from social media back to their own platform.

How do platforms prevent haters?

Platforms that want to avoid the extra work find ways to efficiently moderate haters before they can post their hate. The anonymous verification of trusted accounts is suitable for this. This allows haters to create only one account and thus avoid moderation measures, while everyone remains anonymous.

By creating such a trusted community, many hate comments are prevented in advance. The reports of the "trusted whistleblowers" do not materialize and the complaint mechanisms are rarely used by the users.