EU probes tech giants’ AI and ad practices

The DSA, which took effect in February, requires specific content moderation measures for platforms with over 10% of the EU population as monthly users.

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The European Commission is intensifying its oversight of major tech platforms, requesting information from nine prominent companies on utilising targeted ads and generative AI in compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA), which recently came into effect.

Platforms including Bing, Google Search, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn are under scrutiny, focusing on strategies to mitigate risks associated with generative AI, especially concerning elections, and ensuring compliance with ad targeting restrictions.

LinkedIn, designated as a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP), faces specific inquiries into its ad targeting practices following complaints lodged by civil society organisations regarding potential violations of DSA regulations.

The Commission’s investigation extends beyond LinkedIn, encompassing all nine platforms, to evaluate their risk assessments and mitigation measures regarding generative AI’s impact on various aspects, including electoral processes, illegal content dissemination, fundamental rights, and consumer protection.

Generative AI has been identified as a potential risk factor in electoral integrity, prompting the Commission to solicit best practices and mitigation measures from platforms that align with the DSA’s framework.

While acknowledging initiatives like Microsoft’s pledge to combat deceptive AI use in elections, the Commission emphasises the significance of its regulatory toolbox, particularly the DSA, in safeguarding election integrity.

Why does it matter?

The request for information serves as an investigative measure and does not predetermine subsequent actions, although companies risk fines for providing inaccurate or incomplete data. Tech giants have until 5 April to submit information concerning generative AI’s impact on electoral processes and until 26 April for other inquiries.

In a separate move, the Commission launched an investigation into the online commerce site AliExpress, examining potential violations of the DSA, including the use of recommendation algorithms.