EU investigates Meta over child protection concerns

EU investigates Meta over child protection concerns

EARLIER this week, the European Commission has opened formal proceedings looking into Meta’s Facebook and Instagram for a possible breach of its Digital Services Act (DSA) particularly over the protection of minors.

The digital services act aims to create a safer digital space where the fundamental rights of users are protected. This also establishes a level playing field for businesses.

It can be remembered that in September 2023, the commission sent a request to Meta asking for information on what measures the company takes to comply with their obligations related to the protection of minors under the DSA. The company had until the 1st of December 2023 to submit this information.

It is expected that the newly-opened formal proceedings will address the concern that meta could be exploiting weaknesses and inexperience of minors and cause addictive behaviour.

“The Commission is concerned that the systems of both Facebook and Instagram, including their algorithms, may stimulate behavioural addictions in children, as well as create so-called ‘rabbit-hole effects,” according to European Commission.

Meta’s age-verification tools are also being questioned. Can the social media giant effectively prevent minors from accessing inappropriate content?

“The Commission is also concerned about age-assurance and verification methods put in place by Meta,” European Commission stated.

If these breaches are proven true, these failures would constitute infringements of articles 28, 34, and 35 of the DSA.

It can be remembered that earlier this year during a Senate hearing, Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to parents who say their children were harmed by social media.

“I’m sorry for everything that you have all gone through. It’s terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered. And this is why we invest so much and are going to continue doing industry-leading efforts to make sure that no one has to go through the types of things that your families have had to suffer,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Meta.

 

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