- The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, in late 2020 presented new legislation on how regulators should keep a closer eye on tech giants.
- Under this Digital Services Act (DSA), which was implemented four months ago, regulators are able to police content to reduce harmful comments and set rules for the use of artificial intelligence.
Amazon, Apple and 17 other tech giants feature in the European Union's list of "very large" online platforms or search engines — meaning they face stricter controls from regulators and potentially heftier fines if they deviate from the rules in the region.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, in late 2020 presented new legislation on how regulators should keep a closer eye on tech giants. Under this Digital Services Act (DSA), which was implemented four months ago, regulators are able to police content to reduce harmful comments and set rules for the use of artificial intelligence.
Here is the full list of companies, announced Tuesday, that will now receive closer monitoring and tighter rules under the DSA, according to the EU.
- Alibaba's AliExpress
- Amazon Marketplace
- Apple AppStore
- Google Play
- Google Maps
- Google Shopping
- Google Search
These platforms will now have four months to comply with the rules under the DSA umbrella. This includes giving internet users information on why they are being recommended certain websites or other details, and the possibility to opt-out.
All ads on these platforms will also have to include a label on who paid for them, and contracts with terms and conditions will have to have a summary in "plain-language" and in the different languages of the countries they are operating.
Failure to implement these measures could lead to fines of up to 6% of the firm's global turnover and, ultimately, could lead to a temporary ban from operating in the region.
European regulators have previously warned Elon Musk, CEO of Twitter, that his firm faces significant amounts of work to comply with the new rulebook.
Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, told Politico Europe that these companies "will not be able to act as if they were too big to care."
He added in a statement Tuesday: "The countdown is starting for 19 very large online platforms and search engines to fully comply with the special obligations that the Digital Services Act imposes on them."
Tuesday marked the first official recognition of which companies will be under these tougher controls under the DSA. However, more firms could be added in the future.
Guillaume Couneson, a partner at Linklaters' Global Technology Sector, said via email the response from Big Tech to these measures will "likely influence how the wider market reacts."
"The Digital Services Act is comprehensive and will be a challenge for online intermediaries to get their head around, with the largest players facing the biggest impact. Smaller players will be watching carefully to see how the bigger ones respond to the demands of the Act," he said.