EU considering new regulations on big tech: report

EU considering new regulations on big tech: report
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Major technology companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google could reportedly face new European Union rules that would force the companies to be more transparent in their search results ranking process.

Reuters reports that the new rules are currently being drafted and are aimed at preventing such large companies from abusing dominant positions in the market. 

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“Online intermediation services can hold superior bargaining power over their business users, enabling them to behave unilaterally in a way that is capable of harming the businesses using them,” the draft regulation reportedly reads.

The rules would force the companies to explain “how and to what extent the relevant ranking mechanism takes account of the quality of the products and services offered.”

In situations where companies have competing products, like Google’s business review service versus Yelp, tech firms would have to disclose prioritizing their own product in their terms of service. Companies like Yelp have accused Google of preferring its own services, hurting its ability to compete. 

Companies would also have to provide a 15 day notice period before changing their terms and conditions and provide businesses with an “individualized” explanation of why they were booted from their platforms like Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

The reported proposal is only the latest blow for technology companies in Europe, as the European Commission takes steps to crack down on large technology firms.

In June, the European Commission’s Commissioner of Competition hit Google with a record almost $4 billion fine for prioritizing its online shopping service over competitors. In 2016, the Commission ruled that Apple must pay $15 billion in taxes it owes to Ireland following charges of unfair tax arrangements with the country.

The EU is also planning new taxes on tech firms’ profits. It believes that such companies are paying too little taxes as they run their profits through countries with lower tax rates like Ireland and Luxembourg.