Switzerland's Federal Council Aims to Establish Oversight Measures for Big Communication Platforms
The Swiss government is working on a new set of rules to bring more transparency and give users more power over big online platforms such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. This means that these platforms will be held accountable for their actions and users will have a greater say in how their data is used.
As of January 2023, a whopping 7.29 million people in Switzerland were using social media platforms, which is around 83.1% of the entire population. According to the Federal Council press release on April 5, 2023, these platforms currently hold a growing sway over the public, yet are scarcely subject to regulation. By March 2024, the Department of Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications (DETEC) will create a proposed law for public consideration regarding this matter. If applicable, the fresh rules will be modeled on the regulations outlined in the Digital Services Act of the European Union.
Significant Aspects of the Proposed Legislation
The proposed legislation by the Federal Council includes the following key aspects:
- Large platforms will be required to have a representative in Switzerland so that they can be held accountable for their actions in the country.
- If a user's content is removed or their account is blocked, they should be able to appeal directly to the platform to have the decision reviewed.
- An independent Swiss arbitration board will be set up to handle disputes between users and platforms. The cost of this board will be covered by the platforms themselves.
- Platforms will need to be transparent about advertising, indicating all ads and providing information about how ads are targeted.
- Users will have an easy way to report hate speech, violence, and threats on the platforms. The platforms will be required to review the reports and inform users of the outcome.