The European Commission has issued a warning to the three US firms, giving them one month to revise their terms and conditions on their networks.
According to Ars Technica, frauds, scams, and other “unfair” terminology must be cleaned from the trio’s Terms of Service agreements or they will suffer sanctions. The companies are given one month to submit their proposals that detail how they plan to comply with the EU’s demands. Failure to do so could result in fines, but more importantly, in enforcement action.
“Given the growing importance of online social networks it is time to make sure that our strong EU rules, that are there to protect consumers from unfair practices, are complied with in this sector,” said Brussels’ justice commissioner, Vera Jourová.
“It is not acceptable that EU consumers can only call on a court in California to resolve a dispute. Nor can we accept that users are deprived of their right to withdraw from an online purchase. Social media companies also need to take more responsibility in addressing scams and fraud happening on their platforms.”
EU commission wants the trio’s Terms of Service to conform with European consumer law. To be more precise, here are the points in question:
- Social media networks cannot deprive consumers of their right to go to court in their Member State of residence;
- Social media networks cannot require consumers to waive mandatory rights, such as their right to withdraw from an on-line purchase;
- Terms of services cannot limit or totally exclude the liability of Social media networks in connection with the performance of the service;
- Sponsored content cannot be hidden, but should be identifiable as such;
- Social media networks cannot unilaterally change terms and conditions without clearly informing consumers about the justification and without given them the possibility to cancel the contract, with adequate notice;
- Terms of services cannot confer unlimited and discretionary power to social media operators on the removal of content;
- Termination of a contract by the social media operator should be governed by clear rules and not decided unilaterally without a reason.
The commission is also calling for a tighter regulation on fraud and scams on these networks. They maintain the notion that the companies should remove such content on their own once they become aware of it.
This is not the first time Google, Facebook and Twitter are under pressure from the EU regulators. So far, there are no official statements from either company so it will be interesting to see how will they approach to resolving this situation.
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