EU Draws Bead on US Big Tech With Digital Markets Act
March 25, 2022
Thursday evening, Parliament and Council negotiators agreed new
EU rules to limit the market power of big online platforms.
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) will blacklist certain practices
used by large platforms acting as “gatekeepers” and enable the
Commission to carry out market investigations and sanction
The text provisionally agreed by Parliament and Council
negotiators targets large companies providing so-called “core
platform services” most prone to unfair business practices, such
as social networks or search engines, with a market
capitalisation of at least 75 billion euro or an annual turnover
of 7.5 billion. To be designated as “gatekeepers”, these
companies must also provide certain services such as browsers,
messengers or social media, which have at least 45 million
monthly end users in the EU.and 10 000 annual business users.
During a close to 8-hour long trilogue (three-way talks between
Parliament, Council and Commission), EU lawmakers agreed that
the largest messaging services (such as Whatsapp, Facebook
Messenger or iMessage) will have to open up and interoperate
with smaller messaging platforms, if they so request. Users of
small or big platforms would then be able to exchange messages,
send files or make video calls across messaging apps, thus
giving them more choice. As regards interoperability obligation
for social networks, co-legislators agreed that such
interoperability provisions will be assessed in the future.
Parliament also ensured that combining personal data for
targeted advertising will only be allowed with explicit consent
to the gatekeeper. They also managed to include a requirement to
allow users to freely choose their browser, virtual assistants
or search engines.
If a gatekeeper does not comply with the rules, the Commission
can impose fines of up to 10% of its total worldwide turnover in
the preceding financial year, and 20% in case of repeated
infringements. In case of systematic infringements, the
Commission may ban them from acquiring other companies for a
the negotiations, the rapporteur from Parliament’s Internal
Market and Consumer Protection Committee, Andreas Schwab (EPP,
DE), said: "The agreement ushers in a new era of tech regulation
worldwide. The Digital Markets Act puts an end to the
ever-increasing dominance of Big Tech companies. From now on,
they must show that they also allow for fair competition on the
internet. The new rules will help enforce that basic principle.
Europe is thus ensuring more competition, more innovation and
more choice for users.
With the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Europe is setting standards
for how the digital economy of the future will function. It will
now be up to the European Commission to implement the new rules
As the European Parliament, we have made sure that the DMA will
deliver tangible results immediately: consumers will get the
choice to use the core services of Big Tech companies such as
browsers, search engines or messaging, and all that without
losing control over their data.
Above all, the law avoids any form of overregulation for small
businesses. App developers will get completely new
opportunities, small businesses will get more access to
business-relevant data and the online advertising market will