Starting Friday, major tech companies face new EU rules outlined in the Digital Services Act (DSA). Among them are Alibaba, AliExpress, Amazon, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook. These tech giants are required to clamp down on illegal content, enhance transparency about their services, and ensure the online safety of European users.

The world’s major tech titans must crack down on illegal content and keep European users safe online from Friday, when far-reaching EU rules force digital firms to fall into line.

The landmark Digital Services Act (DSA) compels tech companies to better police content to protect European users against disinformation and hate speech.

It also demands that firms be more transparent about their services, algorithms, and how ads are targeted.

The first phase of the regulation came into force on Friday, affecting 19 “very large” digital platforms, including social media networks, websites, and online retailers with at least 45 million monthly active users in the European Union.

They are: Alibaba AliExpress, Amazon Store, Apple AppStore,, Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, Google’s Maps, Play, and Shopping, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter (rebranded as X), Wikipedia, YouTube, and Zalando as well as Bing and Google Search.

Many inside and outside the EU hope the DSA will be a beacon for other countries to take similar action and bring more regulatory oversight of big tech worldwide.

“The DSA is here, here to protect free speech against arbitrary decisions and, at the same time, to protect our citizens and democracies against illegal content,” the EU’s top tech enforcer, industry commissioner Thierry Breton, said in a video posted online.

Companies will come under annual audits, and those that breach the law could face fines of up to six percent of annual global turnover.

The Friday deadline is when the 19 platforms must give their risk assessments and, two months later, publish transparency reports.

The DSA will apply to all digital services from February 2024.

The DMA subjects internet giants to tougher regulation to ensure competition and avoid big companies manipulating their power to keep users in their ecosystem.

The laws are not the EU’s first strike against tech firms.

The mammoth GDPR data protection law came into force in 2018, triggering a slew of fines worth billions of euros against major players like Meta and bringing closer scrutiny over their access to and use of people’s data.

Miroslava Salazar, with AFP