Big Tech crackdown looms as EU, UK ready new rules

April 25, 2023  -TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon and other Big Tech companies are facing rising pressure from European authorities as London and Brussels advanced new rules Tuesday to curb the power of digital companies.

The U.K. government unveiled draft legislation that would give regulators more power to protect consumers from online scams and fake reviews and boost digital competition.

Meanwhile, the European Union was set to release a list of the 19 biggest online platforms and search engines that face extra scrutiny and obligations under the 27-nation bloc’s landmark digital rules taking effect later this year.

The updates help solidify Europe’s reputation as the global leader in efforts to rein in the power of social media companies and other digital platforms.

Britain’s Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers bill proposes giving watchdogs more teeth to draw down the dominance of tech companies, backed by the threat of fines worth up to 10% of their annual revenue.

Under the proposals, online platforms and search engines can be required to give rivals access to their data or be more transparent about how their app stores and marketplaces work.

The rules would make it illegal to hire someone to write a fake review or allow the posting of online consumer reviews “without taking reasonable steps” to verify they’re genuine. They also would make it easier for consumers get out of online subscriptions.

The new rules, which still need go through the legislative process and secure parliamentary approval, would apply only to companies with 25 million pounds in global revenue or 1 billion pounds in U.K. revenue.

Also Tuesday, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is set to designate 19 of the biggest online platforms or search engines that will have to take extra steps to clean up illegal content and disinformation and keep users safe online.

Violations of the bloc’s new Digital Services Act could result in fines worth up to 6% of a company’s annual global revenue — amounting to billions of dollars — or even a ban on operating in the EU.

Google, Twitter, TikTok, Apple, Facebook and Instagram have already disclosed that they have more than 45 million users in Europe, putting them over the bloc’s threshold.

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