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Platform law ‘a wonderful possibility’

EU prising open big tech’s data for researchers promises discoveries around online risks

New EU laws giving researchers access to data from search engines and other major online platforms could help answer important questions on topics such as human behaviour and the spread of diseases.

Researchers say a lack of access to platform data can make research designs unsatisfactory, and that requests for more access are sometimes rejected. But under the EU’s Digital Services Act, which is due to apply from early next year, platforms and search engines with more than 45 million active monthly users will have to provide certain data to researchers. The act covers social media giants Facebook and Twitter, as well as search engines Google and Bing.

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