EU investigates Facebook, Instagram over child protection


(MENAFN) The European Union (EU) initiated a formal investigation into Facebook and Instagram on Thursday, raising concerns about the potential for addictive behavior among children using these platforms, which are owned by Meta. This investigation, conducted under the ambit of the Digital Services Act (DSA), represents a significant move aimed at compelling major tech companies to take greater responsibility for safeguarding European users online and curbing the proliferation of illicit content. It marks the second probe launched by the EU into Meta, following a previous investigation launched just last month focusing on Facebook and Instagram's alleged inadequacies in combatting disinformation.

The European Commission, serving as the EU's regulatory body for technology, cited suspicions that the platforms operated by Meta could be contributing to behavioral addictions among children. Of particular concern is the potential "rabbit hole" effect, where users are algorithmically directed to related content, sometimes leading to exposure to more harmful or inappropriate material. Highlighting these worries, Thierry Breton, the EU's internal market commissioner, expressed skepticism about Meta's efforts to comply with the obligations outlined in the DSA, particularly regarding the protection of young Europeans' physical and mental well-being.

The commission also raised apprehensions regarding the effectiveness and proportionality of Meta's age-verification mechanisms, further underscoring the broader concerns about the company's compliance with the stringent regulations set forth by the DSA. These regulations are designed to uphold the rights of children, ensuring their privacy and security online. However, there are doubts regarding whether Meta has taken adequate steps to fulfill these obligations, prompting the EU's intensified scrutiny.

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