The European Commission has presented draft legislation that will look to clamp down on certain practices of big online platforms in a bid to clamp down on abusive practices.
The Digital Markets Act will blacklist certain practices that large platforms engage in and will give the commission the power to carry out market investigations, as well as sanction non-compliant behaviours.
The draft legislation was approved by the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and now will be put to a vote in the plenary session in December.
The proposed regulations will apply to large companies providing so-called “core platform services” which are most prone to unfair practices like social media platforms and search engines, which meet the relevant criteria to be considered “gatekeepers”.
Companies that provide a core platform in at least three EU countries and which have at least 45 million monthly end-users and more than 10,000 business users will be considered gatekeeper platforms under the proposed regulations.
If approved, the regulations would mean that gatekeepers must refrain from imposing unfair conditions on businesses and consumers, including the use of targeted or micro-targeted advertising except in the case of “explicit, clear, renewed informed consent”.
Another proposal is for the Commission to be able to impose “structural or behavioural remedies” in cases where gatekeepers have engaged in systematic non-compliance. It is envisaged that the regulations would allow the commission to restrict certain acquisitions if these are deemed to damage the internal market.
The regulations also propose the setting up of a “European High-Level Group of Digital Regulators” to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the Commission and member states in enforcing the regulations.
Should one of these companies not comply with the regulations, the law proposes empowering the commission to impose fines of not less than 4% and not exceeding 20% of the total worldwide turnover in the preceding year.
If the legislation is approved in December’s plenary session, the parliament will start negotiations with EU governments in early 2022.
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