Facebook and Instagram broke European Union digital rules?

Luc Williams

According to the EU's Digital Services Act (DSA), very large platforms, i.e. those with 45 million active users in the EU, which include Facebook and Instagram, must comply with strict rules regarding, among others, risk assessment and content moderation.

The EC is monitoring how political content is published online

Meanwhile, the European Commission accused both platforms on Tuesday of failing to comply with these regulations, including failing to prevent the publication and dissemination of misleading advertisements on their websites. False or deceptive advertisements are materials designed in such a way as to omit important information about the product (which, after purchase, turns out to be completely different than on the website), unjustifiably promoting the product as ecological or falsely presenting it – e.g. the seller artificially raises the price of the product to then allegedly lower it. All these unfair practices that are aimed at persuading consumers to make purchases are prohibited in the EU under the new regulations. The investigation will also focus on allegations of spreading disinformation on websites and enabling coordinated inauthentic campaigns, e.g. by using fake accounts set up on platforms.

The suspected violations also concern the incorrect policy of Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, regarding political content. The Commission accuses the websites of removing political content from Facebook and Instagram's recommendation systems and blocking political channels. Meanwhile, under DSA rules, platforms are only required to clearly label political ads and include information about who bought them and why they are targeted at specific audiences, rather than destroying them.

“In the case of political advertisements, it is required to mark this type of materials, and not to limit their visibility,” EC spokesman Johannes Bahrke clarified on Tuesday at a meeting with journalists. He admitted that the EC is monitoring how political content is published online, especially now, before the June elections to the European Parliament.

“Deceptive advertising poses a threat to our online debate”

The Commission will also examine whether the platforms enabled users to report irregularities and pursue their claims, e.g. complaints when their materials were blocked by the website. The institution also expects Meta to explain why it abandoned the CrowdTangle tool, which enables scientists, journalists and civic organizations to monitor elections in real time, but did not replace it with a new one.

“If we can't be sure we can trust the content we see online, we run the risk of not believing it at all. Deceptive advertising is a threat to our online debate and ultimately to our rights as both consumers and citizens “We suspect that Meta's moderation is insufficient, there is a lack of transparency in advertising and content moderation procedures,” commented EU Commissioner for Digital Affairs Margrethe Vestager.

Meta now has five working days to provide the Commission with explanations and ensure that corrective action is taken, including the immediate release of a tool that will allow public monitoring of content shared on the platforms, especially in the period before and during the European elections. If Meta fails to comply with the order, the EC reserves the right to take action, including imposing financial penalties on the websites. These can be up to 6%. the company's annual turnover.


Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.