Date
25 September 2017
Facebook will be among the US Internet giants that will come under scrutiny in a new European Union probe. Credit: Bloomberg
Facebook will be among the US Internet giants that will come under scrutiny in a new European Union probe. Credit: Bloomberg

EU to probe tech giants amid digital platform regulation calls

The European Union is set to announce Wednesday a wide-ranging probe into how big technology firms such as Google, Amazon and Facebook use their market power, Reuters reported.

The move follows calls from France and Germany for regulation of so-called “essential digital platforms”, the report said.

Authorities will examine if the Internet platforms are transparent enough in how they display search results and if they promote their own services to the detriment of competitors, it said.

Politicians and businesses across Europe have been calling for the market power of dominant US tech firms to be curbed to help Europe’s fledgling web industry compete.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association, whose members include top US technology firms, said the idea of regulating platforms is ill-conceived given that businesses are increasingly becoming digital platforms.

“Platform regulation would hit European platform companies hardest given they grow here,” the association was quoted as saying.

As part of its strategy, the European Commission will also announce on Wednesday an “ambitious overhaul” of the bloc’s regulation of the telecoms sector, to take place next year, Reuters said.

The overhaul will take into account the increased competition from services such as WhatsApp and Skype, while also seeking to clamp down on “geo-blocking”, a practice whereby businesses restrict access to websites based on location, the report said.

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RC

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