Meta platforms challenge EU over content moderation law fee

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Facebook owner Meta announced on Wednesday that it will challenge the EU's demand for fees under the Content Moderation Act in court.

The European Commission last year placed Meta's Facebook and Instagram on a list of “very large” online platforms that would face tougher rules under the new Digital Services Act (DSA).

Companies on the list must pay a fee to the Commission, the EU's executive arm, to bankroll the implementation of the DSA.

Meta supported the DSA's goals and introduced compliance measures, “but we disagree with the methodology used to calculate these fees,” a company spokesman said.

“Currently, companies that file a loss are not required to pay even if they have a large user base or a high regulatory burden, meaning some companies pay nothing while others pay a disproportionate amount,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

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The landmark DSA Act demands that platforms take more steps to curb illegal and harmful content, including the spread of false information. They need to do more to protect online consumers from fraud.

It is part of the EU's strengthened legal arsenal to regulate Big Tech, along with another law that seeks to curb the dominance of the world's biggest tech firms.

The commission considers platforms with at least 45 million active monthly users in the European Union — equivalent to 10 percent of the bloc's total population — “very large”.

The DSA Act came into force last year for large companies, but all firms must comply by February 17 this year.

The commission declined to comment directly on Meta, but a spokesman said: “It is the companies' right to appeal. Our decision and methodology is sound. We will defend our position in court.”

The fees are due on December 31, 2023, and a representative of the commission confirmed that all companies have paid.

The fee will be calculated “in proportion to the volume of service” and will not exceed “an aggregate ceiling (set at 0.05 percent of annual worldwide net revenue) for each provider,” the spokesperson added.

Meta was not the only one to take grievances with DSA to court.

Online retailers Amazon and Zalando are also on the EU list but are challenging their status.

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