EU’s Breton Signals Tougher Tech Rules as Consultations Begin


EU industrial chief Thierry Breton on Tuesday signalled a tougher line with US tech giants as he launched consultations on the bloc’s proposed new rules for the sector.

In a blog outlining why new regulations are needed, Breton will say chief executives should be held responsible for their company’s actions whether they run a physical or a digital business.

Breton last month told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the fake news buck stopped with him.

On Tuesday, he welcomed Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey’s willingness to take responsibility for his company’s actions.

“I also spoke yesterday with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on this matter and welcomed his expression when he publicly tweeted: ‘There is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me’,” Breton will say in his blog due to be published later on Tuesday.

Dorsey’s tweet was in response to the White House blaming a mid-level Twitter staffer for fact-checking a tweet by US President Donald Trump about mail-in ballots.

Following the spat, Trump signed an executive order to regulate social media.

Breton, who is now seeking feedback on the new rules – the Digital Services Act – took a dig at the US approach versus Europe’s democratic process.

“The latest events in the US illustrate the need for us to find the right answers to difficult questions,” he said.

“In democracies, legislating takes time. It requires listening, thinking, finding common positions. And that is a good thing. It increases the chances of getting it right. That is how we do things in Europe,” Breton said.

The consultation will run until September 8 and will need the green light from EU lawmakers before coming into effect.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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