European regulators tackle Facebook over privacy

One arm of the European Union is looking into whether Facebook and other tech companies unfairly favour their own services over those of rivals. At least five data protection watchdogs across the region are questioning Facebook’s privacy settings.

And in a case that could have broad implications for many tech companies, the region’s top court will issue a preliminary decision next month on whether Facebook can continue transferring user data between Europe and the United States.

Move over, Google. Facebook is the latest American tech giant that Europeans love to hate.

For decades, European policymakers have taken aim at America’s giant tech businesses, trying to force them to play by European rules. In the past, Microsoft and Intel were found guilty of abusing their dominant positions to shut out rivals. Google has most recently been under the microscope, and it faces accusations that it unfairly promoted some of its search products over those of competitors.

In recent months, though, regulators’ gazes have turned to Facebook, raising questions about whether the social network has learned from the mistakes of companies like Intel, Microsoft and Google when dealing with Europe’s policymakers and its legal system. And as Facebook runs into an increasing number of regulatory hurdles here, the scrutiny could potentially distract the company from its ambitions of becoming a one-stop-shop for Internet messaging, online publishing and digital advertising.

Read the Full Article: Source – AFR Weekend

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