EU Calls For Best Ideas to Facilitate Access to Platform Data

Mathias Vermeulen is a director and Laureline Lemoine is senior associate at AWO, an agency that helps a range of organizations with navigating the complex new policy areas posed by emerging technologies. Last week the European Commission designated 17 online platforms, including Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter, as “very large online platforms,” while Bing and Google Search were designated as “very large online search engines” according to the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA). This is important because these companies will now have to comply with the DSA’s most stringent transparency obligations, which include a legal obligation for these 19 companies to provide access to data to national regulators, independent researchers and civil society organizations. Article 40 of the DSA has the potential to become the sleeping giant of the legislation, as it will allow third parties to request data from platforms to scrutinize a broad range of ‘systemic risks’ (as defined by the DSA) that could be facilitated by the design or functioning of their services. The systemic risks that the DSA lists are broad in scope, and include harms such as the dissemination of illegal content (as defined by the laws of EU member states) and negative effects on fundamental rights, electoral processes, gender-based violence, public health, and the wellbeing of minors.  While the main conditions for researcher access and the obligations of the actors involved are generally set out in the DSA, there are still a number of hard questions that need to be answered before…EU Calls For Best Ideas to Facilitate Access to Platform Data