EU Lawmakers Take Aim At ‘Arbitrary’ Decisions By Big Tech In Media Freedom Act Vote


European Union lawmakers have made a significant move in their efforts to regulate the power of big tech platforms. In a recent vote, the European parliament has set its negotiating position for the draft Media Freedom Act and taken aim at what they refer to as “arbitrary decisions by big platforms”. The proposal focuses on limiting the ability of mainstream social media platforms to take down independent journalism that violates their terms and conditions.

Key Takeaway

European Parliament lawmakers have formulated a proposal to limit the ability of mainstream social media platforms to take down independent journalism that violates their terms and conditions. The proposal aims to provide media service providers with a 24-hour window to respond to objections before any content is restricted or suspended. By advocating for a mechanism to manage content takedown orders, lawmakers aim to protect media freedom from arbitrary decisions by large platforms.

Expanding on the Commission’s Proposal

The European parliament’s position expands on the original proposal put forth by the European Commission. Under the new stance, larger platforms, known as very large online platforms (VLOPs), with over 45 million regional active monthly users, would be required to inform media services providers in advance about planned content takedowns. Media service providers would then have 24 hours to respond to any objections before any restrictions or suspensions are imposed.

The aim of this mechanism is to ensure that content moderation decisions made by these large platforms do not negatively impact media freedom. MEPs have called for the creation of a system to manage content takedown orders. Platforms would be required to distinguish independent media from non-independent sources and provide notifications to media services providers regarding their intention to delete or restrict content. Following a 24-hour window for response from the media, platforms can proceed with removing, restricting, or referring the case to national regulators for a final decision.

Protecting Media Freedom

The European parliament’s goal is to safeguard media freedom from arbitrary decisions made by big tech platforms. The proposed Media Freedom Act aims to reinforce protections for independent journalism and fundamental rights. By giving media providers the right to challenge platform decisions that they believe undermine media freedom, the proposed law seeks to create a more balanced and fair environment for the media.

Next Steps and Potential Impact

While the European parliament has shown substantial support for the amended file, with 448 votes in favor, negotiations between the Commission, the parliament, and the Council are still needed to reach a compromise on a final text. The future of the Act and its ability to regulate big tech platforms remain uncertain.

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