Can the EU rein in the tech giants?

The EU Commission wants to make the Internet fairer and more consumer-friendly with its proposed Digital Services Act. EU Vice President Margrethe Vestager and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton presented the regulation package, which is aimed at limiting the power of tech giants and regulating competition, on Tuesday. Europe's press is divided in its response: some commentators are enthusiastic while others are sceptical.

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Le Monde (FR) /

End of an era

With the threat to break up Facebook in the US, China's crackdown on digital corporations such as Alibaba and Tencent, and now the EU's new regulations, global resistance to the tech giants is finally getting off the ground, Le Monde writes in delight:

“An unprecedented international consensus is emerging on cutting the wings off the Internet giants. What's new is that it's both bipartisan - US Republicans and Democrats agree on the issue - and present in all countries. Because of their power, the [digital] gatekeepers pose a threat to states. ... And everyone is reacting with the weapons at their disposal: China with authoritarianism, the US with legalism, and Europe with regulations. It took a while, but now everyone is heading in the same direction. An era is coming to an end.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Join forces to find new tools

The EU Commission has chosen the right path and should focus on forging global alliances, the Financial Times advises:

“These proposals would give regulators vast power over the tech sector with a real risk of over-reach. They may well be watered down by member states in the two-year legislative process. ... But competition authorities need to update their tool kits for an age when use - and misuse - of data is displacing price as a measure of consumer welfare. The UK, Australia and Japan are taking similar paths. There is a risk of a backlash in the US but the approach of regulators is changing fast too, giving the commission a chance to build a transatlantic consensus.”

Iltalehti (FI) /

Regulations come too late

Iltalehti doubts the EU will succeed in regulating the Internet giants:

“The platform companies have brought many good things and made people's lives easier, for the most part without it costing a cent. At the same time, they've collected huge quantities of data from us and acquired hitherto unknown economic and operational power. Small countries like Finland have little chance to influence the technology giants' activities. That's why the EU has an even greater role to play in designing the new rules of the game. It seems, however, that the EU's new plan won't do much to change them as these regulations come too and are confusing and and ineffective.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

More trust in the market, please!

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung finds the new regulations excessive:

“Looking back, we see that the tech industry is capable of swift change without government intervention. Big names from the past, such as Netscape or MySpace, have since disappeared. There is still competition today. Apple, for example, is trying to establish itself as the guardian of its users' privacy, which Facebook perceives as a direct attack on its own advertising-based business model. ... It would be good if loud voices were to be heard once more in the EU advocating more trust in the market.”