Digital market, the EU imposes new rules for large online platforms

mercato digitale

The European Council has finally approved the Digital Markets Act, which introduces new rules for a fair and competitive digital sector.

The Digital Markets Act ensures a level playing field in the digital arena, establishing clear rights and rules for large online platforms ("gatekeepers") and ensuring that none of them abuse their position. The regulation of the digital market at the EU level will create a fair and competitive digital environment, allowing businesses and consumers to benefit from digital opportunities.

The Digital Markets Act defines new rules for large online platforms ("gatekeeper"), that now must:

  • ensure that cancelling a subscription to basic platform services is as simple as subscribing;
  • ensure that the basic functionalities of instant messaging services are interoperable, allowing users to exchange messages, send voice messages or files through messaging applications;
  • give commercial users access to their marketing or advertising performance data on the platform;
  • inform the European Commission of the acquisitions and mergers they have carried out.

They will also no longer be able to:

  • classify its products or services more favourably than those of other market participants (self-planning);
  • pre-install certain applications or software or prevent users from easily uninstalling such applications or software;
  • impose the installation of the most important software (such as web browsers) by default to the installation of the operating system;
  • prevent developers from using third-party payment platforms to sell applications;
  • re-use, for the purpose of another service, personal data collected during a service.

If a large online platform is identified as gatekeeper, it will have to comply with the rules of the law on digital markets within six months.

If a gatekeeper violates the rules of the Digital Markets Act, it risks a fine of up to 10% of its total worldwide turnover. In the event of a repeat infringement, a fine of up to 20% of worldwide turnover may be imposed.

If a gatekeeper systematically fails to comply with the Digital Markets Act, that is to say if it breaches the rules at least three times over a period of eight years, the European Commission may initiate a market investigation and if necessary, impose behavioural or structural remedies.