Answer to Written Question: Censorship and interference by Twitter in the regional elections in Catalonia
(Source: European Parliament)
Answer given by Mr Breton
on behalf of the European Commission
Freedom of expression and information and democratic participation are at the core of the EU action to shape the online environment.
The Commission adopted in December 2020 a proposal for the Digital Services Act (DSA), which aims to clarify the responsibilities and strengthen the accountability of services that intermediate content. By doing so, the due diligence obligations of major platforms, including their role in facilitating the public debate will be subject to a clear legal framework.
Whilst recognising that the freedom of contract of online platforms should in principle be respected, the DSA will oblige online platforms to be transparent and non-discriminatory in their content moderation policies, in full respect of fundamental rights as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The proposal also includes rules for very large online platforms to assess and mitigate negative effects their systems have on freedom of expression.
The DSA will enable users to contest the online platforms’ decisions to remove content, including when based on their terms and conditions. Users would have the right to complain directly to the platform, choose an out-of-court dispute settlement body or seek redress before the national courts. An EU-wide governance framework will ensure oversight.
Recognising that democracy requires more determined actions to preserve open democratic debate, the European Democracy Action Plan announced various actions to fight against hate speech, address disinformation and foreign interference, developing accountability standards for online platforms in this regard and promote respect in the public debate.