Whistleblower Frances Haugen's revelations on Facebook fueled the debate about the internet giants.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton used the political tailwind to promote the rapid adoption of his digital package by the end of 2020 in the EU Parliament and the states.

Hendrik Kafsack

Business correspondent in Brussels.

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Now the package of the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) has cleared an important hurdle.

The ministers responsible for competition both adopted unanimously with minor changes in Brussels on Thursday.

"Today we have reached a milestone in creating a more open and competitive digital market," said Slovenian Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek, whose country is currently in charge of the Council.

The chances are good

This means that negotiations between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on a common position can begin at the beginning of 2021.

Only when they exist can both laws come into force.

The French EU Council Presidency, which will take over business from Slovenia in January, intends to conclude negotiations during its term of office, i.e. by the end of June.

The chances are good.

The differences between the position of the states and the emerging line in parliament do not appear insurmountable.

This is especially true for the DMA.

Above all, this is supposed to prevent the internet giants Google, Amazon, Facebook, which is now called meta, Amazon and Microsoft from abusing their power over their internet platforms in order to keep competitors small.

Risk to Democracy?

The DMA lists around twenty unfair practices for this.

These should apply to all companies that control a platform like a kind of "gatekeeper".

This involves, for example, the systematic improvement of your own offers or the use of customer data to sell your own products on Internet marketplaces.

The DSA, in turn, aims to ensure that the Internet companies quickly remove illegal content such as hate speech or child pornography from the network.

The states want to prohibit them from manipulative design practices that are supposed to urge consumers to make a decision that, if in doubt, is not in their interests.

In addition, the platforms should regularly check whether they also pose a risk to democracy.

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