Switzerland set to regulate top online platforms

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Switzerland set to regulate top online platforms
A person using a laptop. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Switzerland is preparing to regulate major online platforms like Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, saying Wednesday that users should be able to demand more transparency from them.


The government has instructed the communications ministry to prepare a draft law for consultation on regulating platforms, by the end of March 2024.

The government "wants to strengthen the rights of users in Switzerland and demand more transparency from the platforms without limiting their positive influence on freedom of expression," it said.

Bern said the public was increasingly getting its information from such platforms, which therefore have a "considerable influence on public debate".

"Currently, however, such platforms are hardly regulated. The systems that decide what content is displayed to which user are opaque," a statement said.


Users are also in a "weak position" in that a platform could block their account and they currently have little or no recourse.

Bern said that where appropriate, the new regulations would be based on the European Union's Digital Services Act, which comes into effect later this year.

The neighbouring EU has taken a tough line on technology companies and the DSA forces social media platforms, online marketplaces and search engines to react more quickly to remove content deemed in breach of EU regulations.

The Swiss government wants large platforms to have a point of contact and a legal representative in Switzerland.

It should be possible for users to find out why they are being targeted with particular advertisements, and to report hate speech easily.

"The authorities' powers to intervene in content will not be any greater than those in the non-digital sphere," the government said.


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