Europe

EU Could Put Facebook, Apple And Other Big Techs On Regulatory 'Hit List'

European Union (EU) regulators are drawing up a list of up to 20 large internet companies, possibly including Facebook and Apple, to be targeted with far more strict regulations in the future to limit their market power, according to a report from the Financial Times (FT).

Large platforms on the list will have to deal with the tougher regulations as opposed to smaller companies, such as new rules forcing them to share data and offer transparency on how they gather information, sources told FT.

The criteria for being regulated more harshly will include numerous factors like number of users and market share of revenues. Facebook and Google and others in that category are likely to be included because of that, FT writes, alongside companies thought to be so powerful that rivals can't trade without using their platforms.

While the specifics haven't been written in stone yet, this move is the latest in a series of steps showing how the EU is becoming more serious about limiting the powers of companies deemed "too big to care," with an unnamed source telling FT that the companies' tremendous power was "not good for competition."

The penalties associated with the new rules will likely go beyond fines, FT writes, instead incorporating moves to force the likes of Amazon or Apple to give up data and share with competitors. That could include breaking up companies or forcing them to sell units in extreme circumstances, such as if they're found to be detrimental to rivals.

The friction between the EU and big tech has been going on for some time, with the companies arguing they need more freedom than what regulators want to provide. Facebook said earlier this year that it would block its services, along with those of sister company Instagram, to the EU over proposed rule changes that would prevent it from transferring data on EU users back to its U.S. headquarters in Silicon Valley.

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