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Protecting minors against harmful content on Meta and other platforms

Question écrite de M. Nikolaj VILLUMSEN - Commission européenne

Question de M. Nikolaj VILLUMSEN,

Diffusée le 16 avril 2024

Subject: Protecting minors against harmful content on Meta and other platforms

We have recently seen problems with the large-scale platform Meta, which is trying to shirk its responsibility to protect users who are minors against harmful content.

Specifically, we have seen how Meta is trying to make the places where the platform’s apps are made available solely responsible for the verification of users’ ages, instead of taking action itself. This is clearly a dereliction of responsibility and completely unacceptable, and the question is how and when the Commission will intervene and force Meta and other platforms to shoulder their responsibility with regard to the protection of minors.

With the above in mind, would the Commission please answer the following questions:

1. What specifically can be done from the EU’s side when platforms like Meta try to shirk their responsibilities in this way?

2. When can we expect the Commission to take action on this matter?

3. Does the Commission take the view that additional tools are needed to solve these problems?

Submitted:17.4.2024

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 30 mai 2024

Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission

(31 May 2024)

The Digital Services Act (DSA) (1) imposes several obligations on providers of intermediary services in relation to the protection of minors. Providers of online platforms accessible to minors are required to put in place measures to ensure a high level of privacy, safety, and security for minors on their service.

The Commission services are empowered to issue guidelines to assist such providers in complying with this obligation and have commenced work on such guidelines.

Providers of Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) are required to assess and mitigate actual or foreseeable risks that their service may pose to minors.

On 16 May 2024, the Commission opened formal proceedings under the Digital Services Act related to the protection of minors on Facebook and Instagram (2), notably in relation to addictiveness of the platforms, potential ‘rabbit hole’ effects and effectiveness of age verification mechanisms.

In addition, the Commission has sent several Requests for Information to Meta, requesting information on the measures Meta has taken to comply with its obligations under the DSA in relation to the protection of minors (3).

Should the Commission receive information casting doubt on the suitability of measures taken by VLOPs to address certain risks under the DSA, it can start additional investigations.

If at the end of the investigation, it is found that a provider of a VLOP has not complied, with its obligations under the DSA, it can be fined for such non-compliance.

1 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on a Single Market for Digital Services and amending

Directive 2000/31/EC (Digital Services Act) (OJ L 277, 27.10.2022). 2 ∙ ⸱ https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_24_2664 3 ∙ ⸱

https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/list-designated-vlops-and-vloses





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