DMA: fair competition and more choice for users | news

The Digital Services Act (DMA) will ban certain methods used by large platforms acting as gatekeepers and allow the Commission to conduct market research and punish inappropriate behavior.

The text, which was the subject of a preliminary agreement between the negotiators of the Parliament and the Council, targets large companies providing “core” platform services most prone to unfair commercial practices, such as social networks or search engines, whose market capitalization reaches at least 75 billion euros or whose annual turnover exceeds 7.5 billion euros. To be considered gatekeepers, these companies must also provide certain services such as browsers, messaging or social media that have at least 45 million end users per month in the EU and 10,000 business users per year.

In the course of this trilogy (trilogy discussions between parliament, council and commission), EU legislators agreed that the largest messaging services (such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or iMessage) should be open and compatible with smaller messaging platforms if they request it. Users of small and large platforms will then be able to message, send files, or make video calls across all messaging apps, giving them more choice. Regarding interoperability commitments for social media, the Co-Chairs agreed that such interoperability provisions would be evaluated in the future.

Parliament has also succeeded in ensuring that the aggregation of personal data for the purposes of targeted advertising is only allowed if explicit consent is given to the gatekeeper. He also wanted to include a requirement to allow users to freely choose a browser, virtual assistant, or search engine.

If the access controller does not comply with these rules, the Commission may impose a fine of up to 10% of the global turnover for the previous financial year (and up to 20% in case of a repeated violation). In the event of a systematic violation, the Commission may prohibit the acquisition of other companies for a certain period.

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Following the talks, Andreas Schwab (EPP, Germany), rapporteur of the Committee for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, said:

“This agreement opens a new era in technology regulation worldwide. Digital marketplace legislation has put an end to the ever-increasing dominance of big tech companies. From now on, they will have to demonstrate that they allow the expression of free competition in the network. The new rules will help reinforce this basic principle. In this way, Europe guarantees more competition, innovation and choice for users.

With this law, Europe sets the standards for the future functioning of the digital economy. The European Commission must now quickly implement these new rules.

The European Parliament has helped ensure that legislation has immediate tangible results: consumers will be able to use the core services of big technology companies, such as search engines or messaging services, without losing control over personal data.

In addition, the legislation avoids any form of over-regulation of small businesses. App developers will benefit from new opportunities, small and medium businesses will have better access to business-critical data, and the online advertising market will become more equitable.”

Next steps

The text has yet to be adopted by Parliament and Council. Once this procedure is completed, it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU, and the rules will start to apply after six months.

Press conference in the European Parliament

On Friday morning, a press conference following the talks will be organized in the European Parliament in the presence of a speaker. Andreas SchwabFrench Secretary of State for Digital Transition, Cedric Ohon behalf of the Council Vice President of the Competition Commission, Margret Vestagerand Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton.

Date of: Friday, March 25, from 8:45 am to 9:30 am CET.

Location: European Parliament in Brussels, SPAAK building, Anna Politkovskaya press conference room (0A50) and remotely.

How to follow the press conference: media representatives with accreditation will be able to enter the parliament. Journalists wishing to ask questions remotely will need to connect through Interactio.

The press conference will also be broadcast live and recorded at the Parliament’s multimedia centre.

Interpretation will be available in English, French and German.

COVID-19 Rules Update

Accredited journalists wishing to attend the press conference in person may do so. Since March 14, some preventive measures have been lifted, but all people entering the parliament buildings are asked to present a valid EU COVID digital certificate, including journalists. Both digital and paper formats of the EU COVID digital certificate or a recognized equivalent certificate are accepted. Evidence of a negative PCR test result carried out within the last 48 hours in Belgium, Luxembourg or France is also accepted. Please note that the mandatory wearing of a medical mask remains in effect.

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