• Responsibility for online platforms must be clarified
  • A level playing field for comparable services online and offline
  • Stronger measures against fake news and illegal goods, practices and content online

Online platforms increase consumer choice, but the current laws must be updated for the digital age, said MEPs in a non-legislative text approved on Thursday.

In order to boost consumer and privacy protection, whilst also developing the full potential of online platforms, MEPs want the European Commission to:

 

  • Investigate the possible errors and abuse of algorithms which can lead to discrimination, unfair practice or breaches of privacy;
  • Provide guidelines to online platforms to comply with their responsibilities and liability rules;
  • Create a level playing field for comparable services online and offline;
  • Define and further clarify the notice and takedown procedures for illegal content and goods;
  • Analyse if further legislation is needed to limit the dissemination and spreading of fake content;

Online platforms themselves should already take certain measures to ensure users’ privacy and accurate information:

 

  • Fight illegal goods and content with regulatory or self-regulatory measures (e.g. track repeat offenders, moderate inappropriate or illegal content on webpages);
  • 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;
  • Inform users precisely what data relating to them is collected and how it will be used;
  • Ensure anonymity when personal data is handled by third parties;
  • Offer customers clear, comprehensive and fair terms and conditions, presented in a user-friendly way, avoiding complex terminology;

 

We need to promote the growth of online platforms in Europe and strengthen the ability of European platforms to scale-up and to compete globally. A level playing field, innovation-friendly environment and future-proof infrastructure are keys to success. Also users' trust is vital for a flourishing digital platform economy.

Henna Virkkunen (EPP, FI)  

With this text we wanted to deal with the essential questions raised by the online platform economy: its precise definition, who is responsible for them, tax, unfair practices and the need to adapt our laws to the online world. The EU must develop a global strategy and an ambitious vision. We have to have European leaders capable of taking on the American and Asian giants.

Philippe Juvin (EPP, FR)  
Who's involved 
Online platforms and the digital single market