Brussels: The world’s largest tech companies must comply with a sweeping new European law starting Friday that affects everything from social media moderation to targeted advertising and counterfeit goods in e-commerce — with possible ripple effects for the rest of the world.

The unprecedented EU measures for online platforms will apply to companies including Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Snapchat and TikTok, among many others, reflecting one of the most comprehensive and ambitious efforts by policymakers anywhere to regulate tech giants through legislation. It could lead to fines for some companies and to changes in software affecting consumers.

The rules seek to address some of the most serious concerns that critics of large tech platforms have raised in recent years, including the spread of misinformation and disinformation; possible harms to mental health, particularly for young people; rabbit holes of algorithmically recommended content and a lack of transparency; and the spread of illegal or fake products on virtual marketplaces.

Although the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) passed last year, companies have had until now to prepare for its enforcement. Friday marks the arrival of a key compliance deadline — after which tech platforms with more than 45 million EU users will have to meet the obligations laid out in the law.

The EU also says the law intends “to establish a level playing field to foster innovation, growth and competitiveness both in the European Single Market and globally.” The action reinforces Europe’s position as a leader in checking the power of large US tech companies.
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