Fri 09 June 2023:
The EU threatened “heavy sanctions” against tech firm Meta on Thursday and demanded that it take “immediate action” for the protection of children, Anadolu Agency reported.
“Meta’s voluntary code on child protection seems not to work,” EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton asserted on Twitter.
He urged the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to “explain and take immediate action,” and said they would discuss the matter in person later in June at Meta’s headquarters.
Breton also threatened Meta with “heavy sanctions” if it fails to comply with EU rules after the new Digital Services Act enters into force.
His comments came after US daily newspaper Wall Street Journal revealed that a pedophile network could operate on Instagram because the platform allowed to post hashtags and search for explicit keywords.
“Instagram connects pedophiles and guides them to content sellers via recommendation systems that excel at linking those who share niche interests,” the WSJ and academic researchers found.
“Though out of sight for most on the platform, the sexualized accounts on Instagram are brazen about their interest,” the report says.
In a tweet fired at the adtech giant, the EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, said the company’s “voluntary code on child protection seems not to work”, adding: “Mark Zuckerberg must now explain and take immediate action.”
#Meta’s voluntary code on child protection seems not to work.
Mark Zuckerberg must now explain & take immediate action.
I will discuss with him at Meta’s HQ in Menlo Park on 23 June.
— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) June 8, 2023
Breton said he will be raising child safety at a meeting with Zuckerberg at Meta’s HQ in the U.S. later this month — and confirmed that the EU will be applying a hard deadline on the issue by saying it expects Meta to demonstrate effective measures are in place after August 25, when the company is legally required to be in compliance with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA).
This is the second time this week that the EU executive body voices harsh criticism of social media firms.
On Monday, EU Commissioner Vera Jourova said that the EU will “scrutinize vigorously and urgently” Twitter after the company “chose confrontation” with the bloc by quitting the EU’s voluntary Code of Practice.
Entering into force on Aug. 25, the new EU law on digital services will impose stricter rules on digital platforms.
Companies that fail to comply with the new EU standards can be fined up to 6% of their global turnover.
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