The Challenges Meta Faces with EU Investigation

The Challenges Meta Faces with EU Investigation

In a recent development, the European Union has launched a major investigation into Meta, the parent company of Facebook, over potential breaches of the bloc’s stringent online content laws, particularly focusing on child safety risks. The European Commission has raised concerns about whether Meta’s platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, may be contributing to behavioral addictions in children and creating what is known as ‘rabbit-hole effects’. There are also worries regarding the effectiveness of age verifications on Meta’s platforms and the privacy risks associated with the company’s recommendation algorithms.

In response to the investigation, a Meta spokesperson emphasized that the company has been dedicated to developing a multitude of tools and policies over the past decade to safeguard young people online. However, the EU remains skeptical about Meta’s efforts to comply with the obligations set forth in the Digital Services Act (DSA) in order to mitigate potential negative impacts on the physical and mental well-being of young individuals using Meta’s platforms. The Commission has decided to conduct a comprehensive investigation into Meta’s child protection measures as a top priority.

The initiation of the DSA probe grants the EU the authority to take various enforcement measures, including interim actions and non-compliance decisions. The Commission can also evaluate any commitments made by Meta to address the concerns outlined in the investigation. Under the DSA, companies like Meta could face fines of up to 6% of their global annual revenues for violations. While the EU has yet to impose fines on tech giants under the new law, there is mounting pressure on companies like Meta to adhere to the regulations set forth by the European Commission in the DSA.

Meta, along with other major U.S. tech companies, has increasingly come under the spotlight of EU scrutiny following the enactment of the Digital Services Act. The EU has opened infringement proceedings against X, previously known as Twitter, over suspected failures to combat content disinformation and manipulation. Moreover, Meta is facing additional investigations over alleged breaches of the DSA pertaining to its handling of election disinformation. The company is under further scrutiny in response to concerns that it has not done enough to combat disinformation leading up to the European Parliament elections.

The EU is not the sole entity taking action against Meta regarding child safety concerns. In the United States, the attorney general of New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against Meta, alleging that Facebook and Instagram have facilitated child sexual abuse, solicitation, and trafficking. Despite Meta’s claims of employing advanced technology and other preventive measures to identify and eliminate predators on its platforms, the legal challenges persist on both sides of the Atlantic.

Meta is facing a complex web of regulatory scrutiny, particularly from the European Union, over various aspects of its operations. The ongoing investigation reveals the growing concerns surrounding child safety, privacy risks, and the potential impact on the well-being of young users on Meta’s platforms. As the investigation unfolds, it remains to be seen how Meta will navigate these challenges and address the regulatory requirements set forth by the EU in the Digital Services Act.


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