European regulators are coming after Big Tech. These are the key cases facing Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

European Digital Economy Commissioner Margrethe Vestager reacts during a news conference on NBCUniversal antitrust case in Brussels, Belgium January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

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After years of levying fines against the big platforms for antitrust and data-privacy violations, regulators in Europe are looking at whether to implement landmark reforms to help it tame the most powerful companies in tech.

European Union competition policy chief Margrethe Vestager is pushing ahead with investigations into the tech giants as proposals for new Europe-wide rules governing all social media sites and online platforms edge closer to becoming law. Meanwhile, data and competition authorities in countries including the UK, Italy, France, Germany and Ireland are currently assessing a flurry of cases concerning the world’s biggest tech companies.

The regulatory landscape is also increasingly busy in the US, too. Google and Facebook in particular are up against several major lawsuits, some of which are calling for the companies to be broken up.

Insider breaks down some of the biggest regulatory cases and lawsuits facing Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google in Europe as legislators try to level with the Big Four’s dominance.

The EU Commission wants to empower itself to impose bigger fines and stricter enforcement action with the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act

The EU Commission’s proposals for the Digital Markets Act will see the body take a broader approach to regulation of Big Tech — preventing companies from undertaking practices that exploit a dominant position. 

The DMA would allow the Commission to deem giant tech platforms to be “gatekeepers” and impose higher fines or stricter action against them for any anti-competitive activity.

Elsewhere, the Digital Services Act aims to provide better safeguards and protection for online users by tackling harmful content and hate speech and sales of illegal goods. 

For a company like Amazon, this could mean facing tougher restrictions on products sold on its giant marketplace with new rules prohibiting the sale of products that could promote hate speech or extremist material.  Amazon sellers themselves could also be subject to new rules like enhanced traceability mechanisms to track those selling illegal goods. 

The proposals were submitted to the European Parliament and European Council in December 2020 and aren’t expected to come into force until 2022.

The EU Commission is focusing on Amazon’s ‘buy box’ that promotes the fast, free delivery available to Prime customers

Last November, the EU Commission announced findings of an initial investigation into Amazon’s marketplace practices, accusing the company of misusing third-party seller data to distort competition. 

Amazon denied this and said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal in November that “no company cares more about small businesses or has done more to support them over the past two decades than Amazon.”

The Commission is now zoning in on Amazon’s Buy Box — the box on the right of its product pages that promotes individual products with fast, free delivery and availability to “buy now.”

“A big question with this case will be: How does the Commission figure out a remedy to make sure that there is equal access to the Buy Box, whilst also preserving what consumers like about Prime?,” said Dr. Magali Eben, lecturer in competition …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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