With new digital regulations intended to limit the market sway of internet businesses, the European Union is targeting Google parent Alphabet, Facebook owner Meta, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, TikTok parent ByteDance, and Facebook parent Alphabet.
The six businesses were identified on Wednesday as internet “gatekeepers” that are subject to the strictest regulation under the Digital Markets Act of the 27-nation EU.
The legislation, which is essentially a list of dos and don’ts, aims to stop tech oligarchies from controlling digital markets by imposing stiff fines or even requiring Big Tech firms to sell off a portion of their operations in order to operate in Europe.
It comes weeks after the Digital Services Act, a related set of regulations aimed at ensuring the safety of internet users, started taking effect. It is a part of a comprehensive overhaul to the EU’s digital rulebook that is starting to take effect this year.
Digital platforms can be categorized as gatekeepers, according to the executive Commission of the EU, if they serve as important conduits between companies and customers by offering “fundamental platform services.”
These services include the Google Chrome web browser, the Windows operating system from Microsoft, chat programs like WhatsApp from Meta, social networks like TikTok, and others that act as middlemen like the Amazon Marketplace and Apple App Store.
For instance, the DMA prohibits tech companies from preventing customers from communicating with businesses that are not on their platforms.
Reshaping the Digital Marketplace
It will be necessary for messaging services to cooperate with one another. Users of Telegram or Signal could thus send SMS or video files to those of WhatsApp.
Platforms are not allowed to rank their own goods or services higher in search results than those of their competitors. Hence, Amazon is prohibited from making its own-brand products simpler to find than those from independent vendors.
By offering consumers a second “purchase box” with a different price or shipping offer for the same product when it settled an EU antitrust probe last year, the e-commerce giant had already begun to provide European customers more obvious choices.
A user’s personal information cannot be pooled by online services to create a profile for targeted advertising. This means that without prior consent, Meta cannot combine a user’s data from the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp platforms.
Web browsers and other essential programs cannot be installed by default alongside the operating system, like Google’s Chrome does with Android phones.
Instead, consumers will be presented with a selection screen for the browsers and search engines they can use on their devices. Google stated that it will remind European users of their choices and that it already does this.
Fines of up to 10% of a business’s annual global revenue, and up to 20% for repeat offenders, or even the dissolution of the corporation, could be imposed for violations.
Source: ABC News