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The EU wants to give itself greater powers to punish tech companies that don’t censor enough

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The European Union (EU) wants more powers to apply stricter policies on US Big Tech companies if they don’t do enough to censor what the EU decides is “misinformation.” These companies could soon be forced to sell or break up operations in Europe if they don’t police content effectively.

Speaking to the Financial Times, EU commissioner Thierry Breton said the new powers the union is fighting for are in the interest of reducing the market dominance of these Big Tech companies.

Breton said these companies have a market dominance that forces users to use only one service and prevent people from switching to smaller platforms.

In theory, should their market dominance grow further, the EU will force them to sell or break off their operations in Europe.

“There is a feeling from end-users of these platforms that they are too big to care,” Breton said during the interview.

He went further to compare the market dominance of Big Tech companies with that of big banks before the financial crisis.

“We need better supervision for these big platforms, as we had again in the banking system,” Breton said.

Another option the EU is considering is a rating system; these companies will get a score on categories such as tax compliance and the promptness of censorship of problematic content.

The union, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, could also go as far as removing the Big Tech companies from the European single market.

Push back against Big Tech is not exclusive to Europe. In the US, the Trump administration is trying to push the executive order the President signed that requested the FCC to consider reducing the legal protection social media platforms enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. While the EU is trying to increase censorship, Trump’s move is supposed to try and stop censorship.

The EU’s new rules for Big Tech companies, called the Digital Services Act, are still being drafted and might be submitted to the European Council and European Parliament for approval before the end of 2020 and will put both the US and the EU at odds over Big Tech policy.

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