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March 17, 2017

EU Could Fine Facebook, Twitter, Google+ for Terms of Service

European Union authorities are asking Facebook, Alphabet-owned Google+ and Twitter to make changes to their terms of service within one month or be slapped with fines, Reuters is reporting.

A source “familiar with the matter” told Reuters the EU’s consumer protection authorities, which is being supported by the European Commission, will hit the companies with fines if unsatisfied with the companies individual responses.

The problem stems from some of the service terms used by the three companies. The EU says portions of the terms of service owned by each firm breach European Union consumer protection law. The EU also wants the three companies to do more to address fraud and scams on their websites.

Reuters’ source said Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have all proposed solutions and yesterday discussed them with the authorities. The discussions did not go well, the source added.

The authorities first sent letters to the companies in December to make them aware of the EU’s issues. The letters, which were seen by Reuters, outlined the issues such as failing to clearly identify sponsored content and requiring consumers to waive mandatory rights like the right to cancel a contract. The letters also accused the companies of having an inordinate amount of power to determine the suitability of users’ content.

The EU authorities also want to put in place a standard communication channel to let impacted companies know if their content is deemed to be illegal and the action being requested to fix it.

None of the companies have commented on the matter.


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