The European Union parliament has approved a series of new rules aimed at limiting the power of online platforms run by technology giants such as amazon, Google, apple and Facebook. The new rules will affect about 7,000 online platforms, the EU said.
European parliament steps in to curb online platform ‘chaos’
It comes after the EU formally approved a controversial comprehensive reform of copyright rules to protect content creators. The new legislation includes provisions that some critics and tech giants disagree with, which they believe will significantly weaken online freedom of expression.
The latest platform legislation has been in the works for more than two years and was finalized in February, when European negotiators reached a final agreement on the form of a formal proposal.
The new rules are designed to curb the EU’s perceived unfair behaviour in app stores, search engines, e-commerce websites and even hotel booking services. While the EU said the rules targeted about 7,000 online platforms, the most likely to be affected were amazon, eBay, apple’s app store, Google Play, Facebook and Booking.com. The following seven new rules apply not only to e-commerce platforms, but also to search engines：
1.There is no longer a sudden, unexplained account freeze;
(in my opinion, this is very important for small sellers. At least they should know what caused the account to be closed.)
2.Clear and understandable terms and advance notice of changes;
4.Mandatory disclosure of a range of business practices;
5.All platforms must establish an internal complaint handling system to assist business users;
6.Platforms must offer companies more options to solve potential problems through intermediaries;
7.Business associations will be able to take the platform to court and block any non-compliance with the rules.
Small sellers will benefit
The new EU rules will create a more predictable and transparent online trading environment and offer new possibilities for resolving disputes and complaints.
Sellers who sell online through the e-commerce platform, hotels that use the booking platform, or app developers will all benefit from the new rules.
Being banned on platforms at every turn is a real headache for sellers, but there is nothing they can do about it. It would be great if the local government would restrict e-commerce platforms in this regard…
One of the goals of the new rules is to prop up small sellers who are increasingly relying on these platforms to be on the basis of their dissatisfaction with the platform.
For example, if these platforms want to suspend seller accounts, they need to provide a more detailed explanation, and the platform will also be required to provide clearer terms of service, improve dispute resolution, and maintain greater transparency.
Finally, the new rules are likely to spark strong divisions between Europe and tech giants. The EU wants the information they disclose to include ranking rules for goods and services, which the platform usually insists must be kept secret to avoid sellers manipulating rankings.
According to the proposal, when proprietary products and services compete with small sellers, the online platform must also provide clearer rules. The EU said such sales would have to be “thoroughly disclosed” in the future. In addition, the platform needs to make more disclosures on data collection and how data is used.
The media noted that the legislation would also need to be formally approved by the EU Council, which is made up of Member States, and was expected to enter into force in 2020.