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EU Could Add X and ByteDance to Digital ‘Gatekeeper’ List

XByteDance and Booking.com could be added to the European Union’s “gatekeeper” list.

The European Commission (EC) made that announcement Friday (March 1) after receiving notifications from the three companies, Reuters reported.

The gatekeeper list is part of Europe’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) and applies to companies that have more than 45 million monthly active users and $81 billion in market capitalization.

Beginning March 7, companies that fall until the gatekeeper designation will be required to ensure their message apps interoperate with rivals and let users choose which apps to preinstall on their devices. 

The law also forbids these companies from favoring their own services over competitors, or blocking users from removing preinstalled software or apps.

“The Commission now has 45 working days to decide whether to designate the companies as gatekeepers,” the EC said in a statement, per Reuters. “The Commission will also assess any argument put forward by the submitting companies to rebut the presumption that they should be designated as gatekeepers.”

The gatekeeper list already includes MetaAppleMicrosoftAmazon and Alphabet. ByteDance was named a gatekeeper last year, though its social media platform TikTok has challenged that designation, the report said.

According to Reuters, Booking.com said last year it expected to fall into the gatekeeper group this year because it had added more users.

In other recent DMA news, Apple has begun to receive pushback from rivals like Meta and Microsoft over its plans to comply with the law.

As noted here last month, those companies say Apple’s proposed changes to its mobile software in Europe, such as allowing users to download apps from other sources and access alternative payment systems, do not go far enough.

At the center of the controversy is Apple’s App Store, which accounts for a substantial portion of its $85 billion-a-year services business. While Apple has announced some adjustments to its fees for app developers, including reducing the highest amount paid from 30% to 17%, critics argue that the new charges could hamper the establishment of alternative app stores.

Microsoft’s gaming chief, Phil Spencer, has expressed concerns about Apple’s proposals, saying they put limits on the ability to build meaningful alternatives on mobile platforms. And Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has criticized Apple’s plan as “onerous” and “at odds” with EU regulations.