EU Increases Pressure On Facebook & Google Over Consumer Law

The European Union is increasing its pressure on Facebook and Google over its consumer laws, having said all major social media companies must "do more" in order to comply with its requests and deeming their current proposals "insufficient." In a statement issued Thursday, the European Commission also called out Twitter for not doing enough to brings its service in line with consumer protection rules set to go into force on the Old Continent later this year.

The political bloc is seeking to provide extra protections to over 250 million social media users in Europe, allowing consumers to file complaints against social media giants in their country of residence instead of pursuing litigation in California. The ultimate goal of the effort is to revamp the regulatory landscape pertaining to Internet firms in order to make them as responsible for consumer protections as more traditional companies are, the EC said. Following the regulator's request from last March, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ all agreed to a number of concessions and changes, vowing to implement them by the end of the first quarter of 2018. Among other things, the trio agreed to revise their terms of use which completely eliminate their liability in any cases related to the performance of their services, in addition to mandating users waive their mandatory consumer rights provided by the EU in order to access their platforms.

Among other things, the digital companies required users to waive their right to withdraw from an online purchase. The same terms also stated the U.S. social networks aren't obligated to clearly label sponsored content and otherwise commercial communications, and have prevented EU nationals from their inherent right to resolve their domestic disputes in their home countries, the EC said. While Google, Twitter, and Facebook initially agreed to implement the necessary changes in all language versions of their terms of usage, they are yet to deliver on that promise, having so far only adopted some of the amendments, according to the European regulator. The Silicon Valley giants have yet to respond to the appeal but could face fines should they be unable to implement the previously agreed changes by spring, especially given the rising tensions between their local units and EU regulators.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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