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EU users to have more power over Facebook, Instagram content

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Facebook and Instagram users in Europe will have greater control over how they view content, Meta said on Tuesday, as platforms take steps to meet imminent stricter European Union rules.

Under a landmark EU law, digital giants will be forced to more aggressively police content online to protect users, especially against hate speech and disinformation.

The web's 19 largest players—including Facebook parent Meta, Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter, now rebranded as X—must comply with the new rules from next week or face heavy fines.

All eyes will be on billionaire Elon Musk, who since taking ownership of X has, often abruptly, modified many rules about language allowed on the site—even if it is found offensive or delivers hate and misinformation—in direct opposition to the EU's new rules.

One of the changes announced by Nick Clegg, Meta's president of global affairs, includes giving European users of Facebook and Instagram the option to view different types of content not based on profiling, a requirement under the EU's Digital Services Act (DSA).

"We're now giving our European community the option to view and discover content on Reels, Stories, Search and other parts of Facebook and Instagram that is not ranked by Meta using these systems," Clegg said in a blog post.

"For example, on Facebook and Instagram, users will have the option to view Stories and Reels only from people they follow, ranked in chronological order, newest to oldest."

Meta has already given Facebook and Instagram users more control over how they view content on their main feed but the latest move goes further.

TikTok announced a similar change earlier this month that would give European users the option to turn off the addictive feature that shows content based on their interests.

Clegg said another measure to ensure compliance included expanding a library to "display and archive" all the adverts targeting people in the European Union.

Other changes include providing more information about how Meta's artificial intelligence systems rank content on Facebook and Instagram.

Clegg said more than 1,000 people were working on DSA implementation at Meta.

Dutch travel site, also part of the list of 19 "very large" platforms, announced a similar "ad repository" that will hold information about adverts that have been shown on its website.

© 2023 AFP

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