Fighting the spread of fake news, defending citizens’ privacy rights and ensuring fair competition must all be key Digital Single Market priorities, said committee MEPs on Thursday.

The Industry and Internal market committees were voting on the role of online platforms like Netflix, Airbnb, and Reddit within the Digital Single Market.

Protecting citizens’ rights and combatting fake news

Online platforms should fight illegal goods, content and unfair practices with regulatory and self-regulatory measures such as:

  • appropriate mechanisms to track repeat offenders and
  • teams to monitor webpages for inappropriate or illegal content say MEPs,

and combat the spread of fake news by providing users with tools to flag fake news so that other users will know that it is false.

MEPs stress the need for online platforms to inform users precisely what data is collected and how it will be used. They call on the online platforms to ensure that anonymity is secured when handling personal data by third parties, and to give to users the option not to share their data.

Online platforms in the single market

The marked differences among online platforms make it difficult to come up with one single legally relevant and future proof definition for them, say MEPs. They therefore suggest that platforms could be distinguished and defined using a sector-specific approach according to their characteristics and principles.

Fair competition

The draft stresses the importance of fair and effective competition between online platforms to promote consumer choice and to avoid the creation of monopolies or dominant positions. MEPs stress the need for net neutrality and fair and non-discriminatory access to online platforms and urge the EU Commission to streamline the funding schemes for initiatives facilitating the digitisation process.

Next Steps

The vote in plenary session is scheduled for June.