Meta makes changes just days before deadline for users to feeds within the EU to ensure compliance with Digital Services Act.
By August 25, the company must comply with the DSA. This requires that platforms classified as Very Large Online Platforms give their users the choice to turn off personalized feeds and return to an algorithmic feed.
TikTok took a similar step earlier in the month. It removed personalized results from its For You page and automatically opted users aged 13-17 out of receiving personalized ads, based on previous activities.
Nick Clegg is the president of Global Affairs. He says that the DSA “is a huge deal, not only for European technology companies, but also for tech companies operating in the EU. It will have an impact on how Europeans feel when they turn on their mobile phones and laptops.”
EU users will only be able view Instagram Stories or Facebook Reels of accounts that they have followed, in order chronologically from latest to oldest. Search results are based solely on what they search for, not on previous activities.
Meta has also made changes in order to increase transparency, and to conform to the DSA. It’s expanding its Ad Library to display and archive all ads that target people in the EU, along with the dates the ad ran, the parameters used for targeting—age, gender, location and the like—and who the ad was shown to. The ads will be archived for one year.
In addition to its Why Ami Seeing This tool, Facebook has released 22 new system cards. These cards provide information on how AI systems determine what is relevant content and customize the system.
Meanwhile, two new tools for researchers—the Meta Content Library and API—will allow them to search, explore, and filter the publicly available content on a graphical user interface, or through a programmatic API.
Clegg said, “These new tools will allow us to access the widest range of content available on Facebook and Instagram compared to any previous research tool.”
The move brings a very different experience for EU users, compared with those elsewhere, such as the U.S. and the UK—and it’s more than possible that the company will eventually extend some of these privacy rights worldwide.
The company’s goal is to appear as a supporter of the DSA.
Clegg says that it is better to use tools like auditing and reporting to make large platforms such as ours accountable, than to try to manage individual content pieces.
It is important that in this new regulatory climate, the DSA maintains the primacy it holds over national laws and existing legislation to preserve its clarity and consistency, as well as the harmony of the experience people have on our platforms throughout the region.