France’s Arcom sets the bar for platform accountability ahead of EU’s DSA

Arcom’s report aims to increase platform accountability, recommending transparent reporting mechanisms and user-friendly content moderation.

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One month before the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) took effect, France’s Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority (Arcom) conducted an evaluation of 13 digital platforms’ efforts to combat hateful content. Eleven of these platforms, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc., will be subject to strict regulations under the DSA. Arcom recognised platforms as important public forums but highlighted the risks associated with their advertising-based business models.

The report focuses on increasing platform accountability to reduce risks for users. It recommends transparent reporting mechanisms, simplifying the reporting process for hate content, and allowing users to track the progress of their reports. Arcom also calls for more transparency in content moderation, including the resources and processes used. It urges platforms to permit challenging content moderation decisions for all users and to clarify user terms and conditions.

Ultimately, Arcom emphasised the need for cooperation between public and private entities to effectively combat hate content, ensuring platforms respond diligently to authorities and take appropriate actions against harmful content.

Why is it relevant? This aligns with the recent launch of the public consultation for the DSA Transparency Database, where platforms will be obligated to disclose the reasons behind their content removals and other moderation decisions. They can submit these explanations in real-time, making them accessible to the public and offering valuable insights into the efforts to combat illegal content online.

As these platforms play an increasingly influential role in shaping public discourse, with the DSA coming into force soon, the report’s findings have broader implications for promoting responsible online behaviour and fostering safer digital environments for users across the EU.