The Digital Services Act: Defending the Digital Single Market and the Open Internet

A coalition of technology companies consisting of Automattic, Jodel, Seznam, Twitter and Vimeo have published a joint letter titled “The Digital Services Act: Defending the Digital Single Market and the Open Internet”. The letter highlights their concerns over the potential fragmentation of the EU’s single market for the Internet as a result of national initiatives that overlap or conflict with the Digital Services Act Proposal. 

In the letter – the second of its kind since December – the companies urge policymakers to preserve the principles of the EU’s Digital Single Market by discouraging unilateral national measures that build regulatory borders across the region – borders that are particularly challenging for small-to-medium size companies and which have the net effect of further empowering the largest companies operating in this space. New EU legislation must also include due process protections to ensure that European precedents aren’t copied elsewhere to pursue oppressive political agendas.  

Specifically, the letter highlights how: 

  • The DSA should maintain prohibitions on general monitoring and focus on illegal content – a concept that must be clearly defined and adopted across the EU. 
  • The DSA’s approach to content moderation should be future-proof and proportionate to perceived harm, moving past the leave-up-take-down models. 
  • The DSA should strengthen provisions on open and interoperable standards across online platforms and establish clear criteria for “very large online platforms” that consider the entire Internet ecosystem and not just a handful of companies. 
  • The DSA should increase online transparency via flexible and tailored requirements across sectors in the areas of policy enforcement, data access for researchers, and disclosures on coordinated actions to manipulate platforms 

Furthermore, signatories are calling for a balanced approach to content moderation. The new rules must reflect the everyday reality of the internet and provide legal clarity over what constitutes illegal content. New legislation should allow for flexible, differentiated requirements across sectors that consider the Internet’s entire information ecosystem e.g. platforms that rely on community moderation. 

On this occasion, the letter’s signatories stated: “The Open Internet has been an unprecedented catalyst for economic and social development. With the Digital Services Act, the EU has the opportunity to  build on its commitment to an Open Internet. The EU could set a coherent benchmark that discourages divergent national rulemaking and which sets a model for the rest of the world to follow. We urge policymakers to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and adopt rules promoting consumer choice, open standards between platforms, meaningful transparency and a proportionate model for content moderation”.

Automattic, Jodel, Seznam, Twitter and Vimeo.

Download the letter here (PDF).