Facebook, Instagram adds chronological Reels and Stories to comply with EU law

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, says that it’ll offer EU users Stories and Reels in chronological order and search results that are not personalized.

The move comes days before the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) will start applying to major websites, including Facebook and Instagram, which are categorized as “very large online platforms” by the Union.

Meta said it had teamed up over 1,000 people to develop a solution that would allow the company to comply with the new legislation. One of the EU requirements is for social media platforms to create systems that aren’t based on profiling.

“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,” the company said.

Meta specified that its users would have the option to view Stories and Reels only from people they follow, presented in chronological order, from latest to oldest. At the same time, search results would be based on the actual query, not what Meta’s algorithms deem the user needs the most.

Interestingly, another Meta platform, Threads, did not launch in the EU because of the stricter data privacy laws in the 27-nation bloc.

What is the Digital Services Act?

DSA is a new European law called the Digital Services Act aimed at reducing the spread of illegal content and disinformation as well as encouraging transparent advertising. The new legislation makes it mandatory for large social media sites to monitor and flag disinformation.

European lawmakers say that the DSA will “give better protection to users and to fundamental rights online, establish a powerful transparency and accountability framework for online platforms and provide a single, uniform framework across the EU.”

Violations will be costly as fines may be worth up to 6% of the company’s annual global revenue, amounting to billions of dollars for some tech giants. Repeated disregard for the law may lead to a ban on operating in the EU, with its 450 million consumers.

Starting August 25th, the legislation will begin applying to 19 websites, including Amazon Store, Apple App Store, Google Play, Maps and Shopping, LinkedIn, X.com (Twitter), Youtube, and others.

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