Europe’s Battle to Curb Big Tech’s Power Continues With More Fines –

It’s been another week of heavy fines and warnings aimed at curbing Big Tech’s power in the European Union (EU) and across Europe.
Earlier this week, Russia fined Alphabet’s Google 9 million roubles (about $121,000) over its failure to delete banned content, the latest in a string of penalties that is part of a wider dispute between Russia and the U.S. tech giant.
Prior to the Tuesday (Dec. 7) ruling, the firm was fined 2 million roubles ($28,085) and 3 million roubles ($40,400) in two separate rulings over the same issue, adding up to more than 32 million roubles ($434,459) that the company has paid in total fines to date, per a Reuters report.
Google is not alone, however. Russia has ramped up pressure on other foreign tech companies this year, and in recent months, has fined Facebook, Twitter and messaging app Telegram for failing to abide by requests from Russia’s internet regulator Roskomnadzor to delete content deemed illegal.
Related news: Russia’s Watchdog Investigates Apple for Anti-Competition Practices
Apple is also challenging antitrust action taken by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) on alternative app payments, after the regulator slapped the Cupertino behemoth with a $12 million fine in a separate case in April for abusing its App Store dominance and unfairly cracking down on third-party parental control apps.
Also see: Amazon Plans Appeal Following $1.3B Fine in Italian Antitrust Case
Google and Apple’s penalty woes in Russia come in the same week that Amazon said it would appeal a record $1.3 billion fine from Italy’s Italian Competition Authority (ICA) for alleged abuse of market dominance, after the eCommerce powerhouse was found to have favored third-party sellers that use its logistics services — Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) — on
In addition to the fine, the antitrust regulator ordered the U.S. firm to offer listings from third-party sellers that were fair and nondiscriminatory, which a trustee will be appointed to oversee.
See also: Italian Antitrust Authority Fines Amazon and Apple $225M+
This news comes on the heels of a ruling last month during which Italy’s watchdog fined both and Apple more than 200 million euros ($225 million) for alleged anti-competitive cooperation related to the sales of Apple and Beats products, according to a PYMNTS report, per Reuters.
The fines, which both companies plan to appeal, are linked to a 2018 deal between the two technology firms limiting which resellers could sell Apple and Beats products on According to ICA officials, that arrangement violates EU rules and affects competition on prices.
Following Europe’s scrutiny of Big Tech, tech firms are speaking up and asking that the EU ensures they are regulated in the country where they are based, according to a joint statement from five companies including Twitter and online video platform Vimeo.
According to the statement featured in a Dec. 9 Twitter blog post, the companies shared concerns that the European countries seeking to limit their power may try to change the “country of origin” principle in the Digital Services Act (DSA) draft — which would mean that Ireland, for example, would no longer regulate companies like Facebook, Twitter and Apple, even though the firms have their European headquarters there.
To that effect, the companies listed “a strong Country of Origin principle that supports a diverse online marketplace” as one of the items on their 2022 wish list for the DSA, adding that “without it, we risk entrenching the largest players, reducing consumer choice and irreparably splintering the Digital Single Market.”
Outside the EU regulatory crackdown, Amazon is negotiating with France’s Parliament to withdraw a bill that would level the playing field for local bookstores and make it more difficult for the U.S. company to undercut them.
In exchange for the withdrawal, the eCommerce giant has proposed a minimum delivery charge of 1.80-2.00 euros ($2.03-$2.25) in France, French Senator Laure Darcos told Reuters.
In other French news, President Emmanuel Macron said this week that the EU will work toward regulation to fight hate-filled content on social media platforms, a plan he’ll likely put into motion when France takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union in January 2022.
“This is unprecedented European regulation to fight online hate, to define the responsibility of these large platforms for their content,” Macron told a news conference in Paris, per Reuters. “Every day, we have to deal with issues such as antisemitism, racism, hate speech and online harassment. There is no international regulation on these subjects today, strictly speaking.”
Also related: EU Gig Workers Could Be Reclassified as Employees
Meanwhile, the European Commission announced draft rules this week that will give drivers and gig workers in Europe — those working for firms like Uber Eats, Delivery Hero and Deliveroo — employee benefits such as paid annual leave, collective bargaining and other perks.
The new rules, which would affect an estimated 4.1 million people if implemented, require that digital platform companies give up some control over workers to make them truly self-employed. As PYMNTS reported, the EU estimates that the reclassification could cost the industry as much as $5.1 billion.

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