Home Google, Apple and Meta investigated by the EU

Google, Apple and Meta investigated by the EU


  • EU probes Meta, Apple, and Alphabet for DMA violations, risking fines up to 10% of turnover.
  • Issues include lack of user choice, anti-steering practices, and unethical data use for ads.
  • Investigation may take 12 months.

The EU has launched investigations into three of the world’s biggest companies over uncompetitive practices.

Meta, Apple, and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) are being assessed over potential breaches of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) introduced in 2022.

If found guilty the companies could face potentially huge fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover – which is in the hundreds of billions for each of the trio.

On Monday (Mar.25), EU antitrust boss Margrethe Vestager and industry head Thierry Breton announced the investigation.

The DMA only contains obligations for six companies, who just so happen to be the largest tech companies in the world: Alphabet, Apple, Meta, Amazon, ByteDance, Microsoft. However, none of these firms are based in the EU – with ByteDance having headquarters in Beijing and the rest being based in the US.

Apple, Meta and Google are now facing questions over their compliance report. Submitted two weeks ago, the reports have been thoroughly analyzed.

This news will is another blow for Apple after they were fined €1.8 billion three weeks ago for breaching competition laws on music streaming. On top of this, the US also accused Apple of monopolizing the smartphone sector, in a landmark lawsuit against the tech firm brought in last week.

A company spokesperson says the firm will work proactively with the investigation and that they have no doubt that their plan compiles with the Digital Markets Acts.

They made clear that their teams created a variety of mechanisms to ensure compliance with the EU’s landmark legislation, as well as privacy and security protections for EU users.

Apple said: “Throughout, we’ve demonstrated flexibility and responsiveness to the European Commission and developers, listening and incorporating their feedback,”

Elsewhere, a Meta spokesperson said the company’s use of subscriptions as another option for advertising was “a well-established business model across many industries.”

“We designed Subscription for No Ads to address several overlapping regulatory obligations, including the DMA…we will continue to engage constructively with the Commission,” they said.

What are Google, Meta and Facebook being investigated for?

The five different possible acts of non-compliance the EU will investigate are:

  • 1 & 2 – Whether Apple and Google are not allowing apps to openly communicate with users and make contracts with them
  • 3 – Whether Apple is not offering enough choice to users
  • 4 – Whether Meta is unethically asking users to pay to avoid having their data being used for adverts
  • 5 – Whether Google is biased towards showing their own company’s products and services in search results

The first two of these investigations is referred to as ‘anti-steering’ – which the EU says it believes the company’s are making it more complicated for apps to inform users of cheaper ways to pay for their services.

The third point covers the EU saying Apple is obliged to allow users to simply uninstall apps, change default settings and be offered ‘choice screens’ to allow them to use different browsers. More so, the EU believes Apple’s current web browser choice screen does not give people enough choice.

The investigation will take around 12 months to complete.

Featured Image: Flickr

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