Big Tech Under Fire

Big Tech

Less than a week after the Netherlands sues the CCP social videosharing app TikTok for $1.7 Billion for illegally collecting data from 64000 children, Japan announces to start antitrust probe on Apple and Google. In China, TikTok is known as Douyin, and it is owned by the Chinese corporation ByteDance.
The video-sharing app has a huge fan base among young people all around the world.

Two Weeks Ago Facebook Came Under Classified Ad Competition Investigation in EU and UK

The European Union and the United Kingdom’s antitrust authorities launched separate investigations into whether Facebook distorts competition in the classified advertising market by using data to unfairly compete against rival services.

“We will examine in detail whether this data gives Facebook an undue competitive advantage, particularly in the online classified ads sector, where people buy and sell goods on a daily basis and where Facebook also competes with data-collection companies.”

Simultaneously, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority announced the launch of its own investigation into whether Facebook’s data collection and use gave it an unfair advantage over competitors providing classified data and online dating services.

Facebook stated that it “will cooperate fully with the investigations in order to establish that they are without merit.”

Marketplace, Facebook’s classified ad service, and Facebook Dating “give people more options,” the company said in a statement. “Both products operate in a highly competitive environment with many large incumbents.

The European Union’s executive commission, the bloc’s top antitrust regulator, is investigating whether Facebook collects data on user interests based on how rival classified ad providers advertise their sites to Facebook users. The commission is concerned that Facebook will then use that data to tailor Marketplace in order to outperform competitors.

Last Week TikTok Was Sued in the Netherlands for $1.7 Billion Over Collecting Children’s Data

The Market Information Research Foundation (SOMI) of Amsterdam sued TikTok on behalf of 64,000 Dutch parents, seeking 1.4 billion euros (approximately $1.7 billion) for allegedly collecting data on millions of children. The organization alleges that TikTok collects data on children without their consent, that some videos on the platform are potentially harmful to children, and that the company fails to protect children’s safety and privacy.

“That is why we have chosen not to await the outcome of the authorities’ investigations and instead to pursue legal action ourselves.”
– SOMI co-founder Cor Wijtvliet explained.

In response to questions from the Dutch press, a spokesperson for TikTok told RTL Nieuws that the privacy and safety of its users are “absolutely paramount.” According to the company’s policy, children must be at least 13 years old to use TikTok, and minors require parental consent.
Big Tech
On June 2, the company informed users that the app might begin collecting additional biometric data, such as “faceprints and voiceprints.” When American news outlet The Verge contacted TikTok for comment, the company declined to explain what these terms meant or why it requires access to the information. If TikTok only requires consent “where required by law,” the Chinese company may be able to collect users’ data without informing them. Some sources consider TikTok as a Chinese Communist Party spy app.

This Week Google and Apple Are Under Investigation in Japan

The Japanese government wants to investigate the monopolies of Apple and Google, reports The Japan Times Sunday, among others. The claim comes from business newspaper Nikkei, which did not name the source.

The government will investigate whether Apple and Google are doing business fairly with Japanese tech manufacturers, mainly smartphone makers. Indeed, Apple’s iOS software and Google’s Android software control 90 percent of Japanese phones.

The study is being conducted by a panel made up of officials and experts, and is said to start this month. If the panel concludes that Apple and Google’s business agreements are to the detriment of the manufacturers, it could lead to a tightening of Japan’s competition law, Nikkei claims.

The monopoly positions of Apple and Google have been under discussion for some time. In late April, the European Commission concluded that Apple was abusing its dominant position in violation of European law.

Google reached a €220 million settlement with the French competition watchdog early this month. Google’s tool to help websites and apps sell advertisements would have given the company too great an advantage over other operators.