On Wednesday, the European Commission designated six “gatekeepers” under the Digital Markets Act: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft.
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) defines gatekeepers as platforms that have a significant impact on the internet market.
“In total, 22 core platform services provided by gatekeepers have been designated,” according to the announcement. “The six gatekeepers will now have six months to ensure full compliance with the DMA obligations for each of their designated core platform services.”
In order to be determined a gatekeeper, a company or service has to have an annual turnover of over €7.5 billion in the EU, a market cap of over €75 billion, and 45 million monthly active users in the EU, among other factors, according to The Verge. But just because a company isn’t currently on the list, doesn’t mean they won’t be added in the future. For example, Apple’s iMessage isn’t on the list, but the commission said it’s investigating whether the service meets the requirements for regulation. The Verge reports that this investigation should take about five months and it could result in some services being added to the list and regulated as such.
“More choice for consumers, fewer obstacles for smaller competitors: the DMA will open the gates to the Internet,” Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for Internal Market, said in a statement. “With today’s designation we are finally reining in the economic power of 6 gatekeepers, giving more choice to consumers and creating new opportunities for smaller innovative tech companies, thanks for instance to interoperability, sideloading, real-time data portability and fairness. It was high time that Europe sets the rules of the game upfront, to ensure digital markets are fair and open.”
This is just one example of the many ways the EU is regulating tech. The EU adopted one of the most valuable pieces of legislation to protect people’s online privacy and data — the Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR — in 2016. And, since then, it used the GDPR to strengthen online privacy and data protections for EU users through regulation.