Facebook’s news blockage in Australia and recent cyberattacks in France were among the topics MEPs raised in a discussion with Commissioner Breton on the proposed Digital Services Act.

The Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton called it “very damaging” that Facebook had recently blocked content by Australian news providers. “Australia has to be supported in its fight” against the measure, he stated in response to MEP questions. His remarks came during a discussion in the Committee on Foreign Interference where he spoke about the Commission’s proposed Digital Services Act setting up rules to regulate online platforms and clarify rules for taking down illegal content.

Protection of quality journalism

MEPs emphasized: the EU should ensure that quality journalism survives and that media continues to have the resources to investigate and combat disinformation with valid news stories. Several MEPs also underlined the role of media literacy.                                   Others called attention to the maintenance of appropriate protections to free speech while regulating illegal content and disinformation, and pointed out: social media platforms can act as fora against state-spread disinformation in countries like Russia.

No patchwork of frameworks

To a question on various member states now setting up their own national rules for social media platforms, potentially resulting in a “patchwork of 27 frameworks”, the commissioner underlined: the EU should remain united in its approach to tackle the practices of these platforms operating on global business models. And while handling cyberattacks, such as the recent one against French hospitals, remain in the competence of the national authorities, “We have to augment our capacity against cyberattacks, and coordinate more”, he said.