European Union Rules: Facebook Hopes Limits on Apple, Too

Facebook sent a shot across the bow of Apple last week. The company remarked that it hopes the latest European Union draft rules on reigning in powers of tech giants sets limits for that company, according to a Reuters report.

Facebook reportedly commented on the draft Digital Markets Act in its attack on Apple. The DMA targets large companies to make them to stop favoring their own services on their platforms.

“We hope the DMA will also set boundaries for Apple,” a Facebook spokesman said, adding that the Cupertino, California-based tech giant “controls an entire ecosystem from device to app store and apps,” Reuters reported.

The Facebook representative said that Apple uses its powers to “harm developers and consumers, as well as large platforms like Facebook.”

Apple’s New Privacy Feature Could Drastically Impact Facebook Revenue

Apple has announced a privacy-related feature that lets users block advertisers across third-party applications. Facebook says this move would negatively impact its revenues. Apple responded, “when invasive tracking is your business model, you tend not to welcome transparency and customer choice.”

In September, Facebook testified against Apple’s antitrust behavior to the European Union as a part of a consultative process on another piece of proposed legislation. In response, Apple’s Senior Vice President Craig Federighi struck back at the adtech industry while addressing the European Data Protection & Privacy Conference and warned of “Shadowy actors,” who he said, “work to infiltrate the most intimate parts of your life.”

European Union Brexit

Facebook to Take Its UK Users Out of the Reach of European Union Privacy Laws

Facebook will move all its users in the United Kingdom into user agreements with its corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley. That will transition out of from their current relationship with Facebook’s Irish unit and out of jurisdiction of Europe’s privacy laws. The new legislation will be effective in 2021. Facebook’s change mirrors a similar move announced by Google. in February. The two companies and others have European head offices in Dublin, and the UK’s exit from the European Union (“Brexit”) will alter its legal relationship with Ireland, which will stay in the Union.

“Like other companies, Facebook has had to make changes to respond to Brexit and will be transferring legal responsibilities and obligations for UK users from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc. There will be no change to the privacy controls or the services Facebook offers to people in the UK,” the company’s UK division commented.

Facebook’s UK users will continue to be subject to British privacy law. That regulation currently mirrors the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Facebook is making the change in part because the European Union privacy regime is among the world’s most rigid. The European Union rules provide for users’ granular control over their own data.

Tech Giants Could See Big Fines for Violations of European Union Antitrust Rules

The European Union’s landmark legislation sets out strict rules for tech giants to do business in the European Union. The name of the laws are the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). These two Acts detail specific regulations that restrict the power of global internet firms on the European market. Large tech companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook face significant fines for violating the rules.

European Union antitrust czar Margrethe Vestager and European Union digital chief Thierry Breton announced the draft. The announcement came after a media leak about the content of the new rules. The dual legislation provides a list of do’s, don’ts, and penalties for the internet largest companies:

  • Companies with over 45 million European Union users will be deemed to be digital “gatekeepers.” Stricter regulations will apply to them.
  • The European Union could fine tech companies up to 10% of their annual turnover for violating competition rules.
  • Companies could also be required to sell one of their businesses or parts of it, including rights or brands.
  • Platforms that refuse to comply and “endanger people’s life and safety” could have their service temporarily suspended “as a last resort.”
  • Companies would need to make the European Union aware prior to any planned mergers or acquisitions.
  • Certain kinds of data must be shared with regulators and rivals.
  • Companies favoring their own services could be banned.
  • Platforms would be more responsible for illegal, disturbing, or misleading content.

European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager said that the new rules look to bring “order to chaos.” Further, they update the bloc’s previous digital rules to address and establish control over the power of dominant tech giants.

Europe Defends Digital Service Act & Digital Markets Act

“The Digital Service Act and Digital Markets Act will create safe and trustworthy services while protecting freedom of expression,” she said at a press conference in Brussels.

“The two proposals serve one purpose. To make sure that we as users, as customers and businesses have access to a wide choice of services online just as we do in the physical world” She added that “what is illegal offline is equally illegal online.”

Vestager supposedly compared the landmark legislation to the invention of the traffic light, which “brought order in the streets.”

“We invented the traffic light as a response to a major technological disruption: the invention of the car.”