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EU Digital Chief: Tech Firms That Break New Rules Face Fines, Break Up

Thierry Breton, EU’s digital chief, says tech giants breaking the bloc’s new rules could face fines or more severe punishments like breaking up their European businesses, Reuters reported.

Breton is set to present the draft rules, called the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The new rules could affect major players including Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Amazon.

Under the DSA, companies will have to explain how their algorithms work, open up advertising archives for regulators and researchers, as well as do more to fight hate speech, damaging content and fake products on their platforms. And the DMA will target online gatekeepers for new requirements such as sharing some kinds of data with rivals and regulators, and outlaw other practices such as favoring their own services over others’ products, along with sanctions, according to Reuters.

“We start with a fine, then you have a bigger fine, then you may have a temporary remedy, specific remedies, then you may have at the end of the day, what we have also in the competition rules, structural separation,” Breton per reports, adding that breaking up a company would be the last resort.

Breton said the separation was “not an objective” of the rules and that it was just supposed to be an option in the case that it would be needed.

The laws are still only proposed for now, though, and will have to be approved after negotiations between The European Commission, the EU countries and the European Parliament, Reuters said.

The big tech companies have been facing tougher regulations and more scrutiny around the world as of late. In France, the country’s Finance Ministry has told tech companies a new Digital Services Tax is due. The tax is a 3 percent levy affecting companies with revenues of over 25 million euros in France and 750 million euros worldwide. While it was passed last year, the collection was suspended during negotiations to revamp the tax rules.

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