The Biggest Digital Companies Under the Strict Lens of EU Surveillance

Legal - May 13, 2023

Europe has Launched Surveillance Operations on the Major Companies Operating in the World of Digital Search Engines and Social Media

All companies in the global digital sector will have to align themselves with the rules established by the European Community if they want to continue operating in the old continent. Among the companies being watched by the European Commission in view of a severe crackdown on their activities, Twitter, TikTok, Google, Amazon, Wikipedia and many other companies with millions of users stand out and the intention of the European Parliament is to enforce all the rules established for the correct use of the digital services offered.

The rules imposed by Europe relate to transparency, the fight against disinformation and the protection of all users with particular attention paid to minors. Companies that fail to align with the new directives could be forced to pay very high fines that would be around 10% of their total annual turnover and the figures in question are decidedly high.

The list of digital platforms that will undergo close monitoring by the European supervisory bodies includes most of the companies which, at the end of February 2023, declared that they had at least 45 million active users every month. August 25 of this year will be the day established from which the monitored companies will have to change everything that must be corrected to continue operating in Europe and will have 4 months to demonstrate that they have fully complied with all the obligations set out in the special regulation formalized by the European Union.

To guarantee the protections, especially towards minors, required by the European Commission, all the main digital platforms in the world will be forced to produce accurate analyses of the risks associated with the services offered, in relation to the dissemination, for example, of illegal contents, relating to freedom of expression or invasion of privacy. The concerned platforms will also have to provide guarantees related to public safety or directly related to the health and psychophysical well-being of minors and all registered users. The operators of the companies that own the major international social networks and search engines must be adequately equipped for the immediate removal of content considered illegal or in any case harmful by Europe and must be fully capable of offering a moderation of the material disseminated through their own channels so as to make their use more reliable.

The analysts of the European Community who will have the task of monitoring the activities of the digital platforms in question will also have to have free access to the company algorithms which can be scanned in depth by researchers authorized by the European Commission. These rules will effectively come into force on February 17, 2024, even for companies with fewer users or in any case considered smaller and less influential in the digital world.

Among the rules that will come into force in the coming months, there is an important crackdown on the uncontrolled profiling of users for commercial purposes and, in this regard, digital platforms will no longer be able to use sensitive user data such as gender, religious tendencies or political orientation for transparency obligations or targeted advertising. Stress tests will then be conducted to verify the general guidelines of the company placed under the European lens, to ascertain the quality of digital operations and effective correctness, both towards end users and companies considered competitors and which, in their turn, they will undergo the same monitoring, in order to ensure, at least in Europe, a guaranteed and reliable use of social networks and search engines.


Alessandro Fiorentino