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The time has come to curb the power of Big Tech: final agreement in Digital Markets Act

The EU institutions have reached a final agreement on the Digital Markets Act on 25 March 2022. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that the digital sector is more equitable and competitive, and to ensure that no large online platform that acts as a ‘gatekeeper’ (e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter etc.) for a large number of users abuses its position to the detriment of companies wishing to access such users. The new rules will prohibit them from using unfair business practices against traders and buyers who depend on them to gain undue advantage.

The Act contains obligations such as ensuring the interoperability of the basic functionalities of instant messaging services or giving sellers access to their marketing or advertising performance data on the platform. Furthermore, gatekeepers must also comply with prohibitions, such as rank their own products or services higher than those of others (self-preferencing), reuse private data collected during a service for the purposes of another service, prevent customers from contacting businesses outside the platform.  If a gatekeeper violates the rules laid down in the legislation, it risks a fine of up to 10% of its total worldwide turnover. For a repeat offence, a fine of up to 20% of its worldwide turnover may be imposed.

The provisional agreement reached is subject to approval by the Council and the European Parliament. The regulation must be implemented within six months after its entry into force.