The European Parliament has approved a draft set of measures to tackle illegal content, especially targeted advertising, and to ensure that social media platforms are held accountable for their algorithms and improve content moderation.

The law will prevent Big Tech from using sensitive information for targeted advertising.

The ‘Digital Services Act’ will regulate platforms for a safer online space for users.

The bill provides for more transparent and informed choices for the recipients of digital services, including information on how their data will be monetized.

If their consent is refused or withdrawn, recipients shall be given other options to access the online platform, including “options based on tracking-free advertising”.

“Much has changed in the 20 years since we adopted the e-commerce directive. Online platforms have become increasingly important in our daily life, bringing new opportunities, but also new risks,” said Christel Schaldemose, who is leading the European Parliament’s negotiating team.

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“It is our duty to make sure that what is illegal offline is illegal online. We need to ensure that we put in place digital rules to the benefit of consumers and citizens,” Schaldemose said in a statement.

Online marketplaces must ensure that consumers can purchase safe products online, strengthening the obligation to trace traders.

According to the bill, very large online platforms (VLOPs) will be subject to specific obligations due to the particular risks they pose regarding the dissemination of both illegal and harmful content.

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“Targeting or amplification techniques involving the data of minors for the purpose of displaying ads will be prohibited, as well as targeting individuals on the basis of special categories of data which allow for targeting vulnerable groups,” the European Parliament said.

The recipients of digital services and organizations representing them must be able to seek redress for any damages resulting from platforms not respecting their due diligence obligations.

“Online platforms should be prohibited from using deceiving or nudging techniques to influence users’ behaviour through ‘dark patterns’,” it added.