Sep 3, 2020
Google Contends EU Gatekeeper Rules Could Harm End Users
(Bloomberg) -- Google, which recently increased advertising fees in the U.K. due to a new digital tax, warned that new European Union legislation could end up hurting users.
The European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, by the end of the year is set to unveil a Digital Services Act that will include new rules for “gatekeeper platforms,” or powerful online firms with dominant market positions that make it difficult for rivals to compete.
Sweeping remedies such as “decisions prohibiting, or requiring the unwinding of, product changes or improvements that involve large-scale investments could have significant financial ramifications and hurt users,” Google said in a submission Thursday to the commission.
The impact of regulation on users has already been seen in the U.K., where Google has increased its advertising fees by 2%, in response to the government’s recent digital services tax.
Google’s market power has been the target of the EU’s powerful antitrust regulators, resulting in billions of euros in fines. The EU wants to implement measures that would prevent abuse of dominant market positions by online platforms in the first place, and has invited public feedback on its plans as it drafts its legislative proposal
The Alphabet Inc. unit said the new rules shouldn’t discriminate against particular businesses, noting that some firms have dominant positions in one market but not in others.
The EU’s Digital Services Act will include measures that will seek to hand online platforms more responsibility for users’ posts, including violent hate speech. Google said it would welcome legal clarity in the area but that services shouldn’t be made liable without first being made aware of the illegal content so it can remove or disable access to the post.
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