Pressure On Facebook, Google And Twitter Increased By EU Over User Terms

After proposals submitted by the tech giants were considered insufficient, in order to amend their user terms to bring them in line with EU law, European Union authorities have increased pressure on Facebook, Twitter and Google.

According to letters sent to the companies and reportedly seen by the media, asking the IT companies to improve their proposed changes to user terms by the end of September, the European Commission and consumer protection authorities in the bloc wrote to the three companies in June.

If the companies fail to comply, the authorities have the power to issue fines.

There were no comments on the development from Twitter and Google.

Facebook said that recognised that its terms could be made easier to understand and would work to meet the authorities’ concerns and added that the company believes that it is compliant with EU law.

The procedures that were proposed to set up for the removal of illegal content on their websites, by the social media platforms and companies in relation to the terms that limit their liability and terms that would allow them unilaterally to remove content posted by the users are the areas that the concerns centre primarily on.

The letters from the EU said that September 20 was the deadline for the implementation of any of the new proposals, which were asked to be submitted until July 30 by the U.S. trio companies.

While one of the U.S. tech companies had asked for more time to submit the proposals, two of the companies in question had submitted amended proposals, reported the media quoting a person familiar with the matter.

In order to assuage the regulators’ concerns in March, the companies had first proposed changes to their terms and conditions in March. Issues and terms like where the European consumers to seek redress in California, where the companies are based, instead of the consumer’s home country, were the sticking points in the proposals.

From privacy issues to how quickly they remove illegal or threatening content, U.S. technology companies have faced tight scrutiny in Europe for the way they do business.

More detail on the timeframe and deadlines they would apply to dealing with notifications of content deemed illegal under consumer law have bene asked to be provided by the companies to the authorities and the Commission. Additionally, the EU Commission has also asked he companies to dedicate a page or email address to notifications from consumer authorities.

A procedure whereby consumers would be notified before their content is removed or given an opportunity to challenge it, is also being pressed by the bodies in addition to those mentioned above.

The concerns were about the social network Google+, in the case of Alphabet’s Google unit,

(Adapted from Reuters)

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