The European Commission (EC) has warned social media giants Facebook and Twitter of action including enforcement measures if they fail to reform their terms of services to fully comply with the European Union’s (EU) consumer rules. The Commission on Thursday said that it requested social media companies in March 2017 to do more to comply with EU consumer rules.
“These requests followed numerous complaints by consumers who had been targeted by fraud or scams when using these websites, as well as having been subject to certain terms of services that do not respect EU consumer law,” the Commission said in a statement. It found Facebook and Twitter wanting in aligning their terms of services with EU consumer protection rules. It found the changes made by Google+ to be satisfactory.
“While Google‘s latest proposals appear to be in line with the requests made by consumer authorities, Facebook and, more significantly, Twitter, have only partially addressed important issues about their liability and about how users are informed of possible content removal or contract termination,” the statement added.
The Commission, however, noted that the changes already made by the social media companies since the requests were made a year ago will benefit more than a quarter of a billion of EU consumers who use these platforms.
EU consumers will not be forced to waive mandatory EU consumer rights, such as their right to withdraw from an on-line purchase, it said. They will be able to lodge their complaints in Europe, rather than in California, the statement added. However, the changes only partially fulfil the requirements under EU consumer law, it added, terming the changes “insufficient”.
“While Google+ has set up a protocol, including deadlines to deal with the requests, Facebook and Twitter have only agreed to provide a dedicated e-mail address that national authorities can use to notify infringements, without committing to deal with such requests within specific timeframes,” the Commission said, noting that it would monitor the implementation of the promised changes. The Commission said that it would propose new legislation in April to modernise the existing consumer law and ensure that they are properly enforced.