The Future of Mobile

EU warns Facebook, Twitter of possible sanctions, investigates Amazon

Tyrone Stewart
Margrethe Vestager
European Commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager

The European Union (EU) seems to be running out of patience with some of the biggest tech firms on the planet – with Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon all facing the wrath of EU regulators.

In the case of Facebook and Twitter, both social networks have been warned that, if they fail to comply with European consumer rules by the end of the year, they will be slapped with sanctions.

According to Reuters, the European Commission says that Facebook and Twitter are yet to bring their user terms entirely in line with EU regulations, despite being told to do so seven months. By contrast, Airbnb managed to make the necessary changes after having been told to do so just three months ago.

Changes made to Airbnb include showing the total price of bookings and extra fees, showing whether an offer is made by a private host or by a professional, and letting consumers know they have the right to take legal action.

Elsewhere, Amazon is being investigated over concerns that the company uses data from third-party sellers on its platform in order to boost its own sales.

“The question here is about data. Because if you, as Amazon, get the data from smaller merchants that you host – which, of course, can be completely legitimate because you can improve your service to these smaller merchants – do you then use this data to do your own calculations,” said Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for competition, in a press conference.

“It is very early days in this antitrust investigation into Amazon’s business practices. We are gathering information on the issue and we have sent quite a number of questionnaires to market participants in order to understand this issue in full… We have no conclusions. We haven’t formally opened the case, but we are trying to make sure that we get the full picture.