For many Americans, social media has become a monster. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are seen as festering hotbeds of hate and misinformation that threaten the very foundations of American democracy and civility. Calls for regulation have intensified, with some prominent voices looking across the pond for a model to regulate social media in the public interest.
In November, the European Union’s Digital Services Act took effect, with enforcement beginning for some businesses during the next year and for the rest in January 2024. The stated purpose of the law is to end the supposed “Wild West” of the internet and replace it with a rules-based digital order across the EU’s member states. The sweeping piece of legislation includes an obligation for platforms to evaluate and remove illegal content, such as “hate speech,” as fast as possible. It also mandates that the largest social networks assess and mitigate “systemic risks,” which may include the nebulous concept of “disinformation.”