Europe encourages global online platforms to become more transparent in a fight with COVID-19 scams

On November 6, 2020, Didier Reynders, the EU commissioner for justice, met with 11 e-commerce and media companies including Amazon, Alibaba/AliExpress, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft/Bing, Rakuten and Verizon Media/Yahoo to urge them “to join forces and engage in a peer-to-peer exchange” to prevent a new wave of COVID-19 scams and disinformation, writes TechCrunch.

In March 2020, when the ads for the products that offer PPE or even coronavirus “cure” appeared, the EU Member States’ consumer protection authorities devised a common strategy of response to the threat posed by coronavirus scams. Since then the platforms have reported about the removal of “hundreds of millions” illegal offers and ads. But the European Commission was not satisfied with the results of the last monitoring reports on countering the disinformation by Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and TikTok.

“Viral spreading of disinformation related to the pandemic puts our citizens’ health and safety at risk. We need even stronger collaboration with online platforms in the coming weeks to fight disinformation effectively,” Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market, emphasized. 

Next month the European lawmakers are intended to unveil two packages of legislation that will tight the e-commerce and social media business regulations. Digital Services Act (DSA) will consist of legally binding transparency rules and will “require platforms to take more responsibility for dealing with illegal content and dangerous products”. The second – the Digital Markets Act, will introduce additional rules, such as requirements to make data available to rivals, with the aim of fostering competition in digital markets.