Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

The European Union deployed the Digital Services Act (DSA) on Thursday to scrutinize TikTok and seven other platforms concerning AI risks in the forthcoming elections across the 27-nation bloc, including threats posed by deepfakes. Under the DSA, the European Commission interrogated TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, X, Google, YouTube, Snapchat, and Bing regarding their strategies to mitigate such risks.

Moreover, the commission initiated a formal investigation into Chinese internet retailer AliExpress for suspected DSA breaches, encompassing the sale of illegal medications and dietary supplements, and the failure to prevent minors from accessing explicit content. Additionally, Brussels directed inquiries to Microsoft’s professional network LinkedIn regarding the utilization of users’ personal data for targeted advertising.

Thierry Breton, the European Union’s top digital enforcer, declared on social media platforms Bluesky and X that the DSA is now fully operational after being enacted last year. He emphasized the mobilization of enforcement teams, signaling a proactive approach to ensure compliance.

The commission’s inquiries into the eight platforms primarily focus on measures to mitigate risks associated with generative AI, encompassing the propagation of false information, the dissemination of deepfakes, and automated manipulation that could mislead voters. However, these requests do not predetermine further actions, contingent upon the information obtained.

Conversely, the probe into AliExpress grants Brussels the authority to delve into internal documents and processes, potentially leading to substantial fines or bans for non-compliance with the DSA. The intensified regulatory actions reflect the EU’s commitment to reining in Big Tech and safeguarding democratic processes.

European Commission officials underscored concerns regarding the potential exploitation of generative AI to influence the upcoming EU elections. They stressed the importance of preparedness and collaboration with platforms to mitigate potential incidents, particularly during the European Parliament election.

Brussels’ assertive regulatory approach coincides with the adoption of legislation aimed at curbing AI abuses and reinforcing digital governance. With the DSA, Digital Markets Act, and AI Act, the EU seeks to strike a balance between safeguarding citizens and fostering innovation, setting a precedent for global regulatory frameworks.

While the US pursues its own AI safety standards, the EU’s actions highlight a concerted effort to address digital challenges, including TikTok’s ownership concerns. Despite US lawmakers’ move to potentially ban TikTok unless divested from Chinese ownership, EU officials assert that regulatory actions are not motivated by bias but rather aim for equitable treatment of all online platforms under the DSA. They emphasize ongoing efforts to address emerging challenges and anticipate further regulatory measures in the digital sphere.

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