European consumer protection authorities are taking aim at media companies Facebook, Alphabet and Twitter, asking them to amend their terms of service or possibly face fines. Ciara Lee reports.
From privacy to how quickly they remove illegal or threatening content - U.S. tech companies are under pressure in Europe. Social media firms Facebook, Alphabet's Google Plus unit and Twitter must amend their terms for European users within a month or risk being fined. One EU official told Reuters that The Commission and European consumer protection authorities will be ready to take action to make sure companies comply with the new rules. Germany is also planning a new law for social networks such as Facebook to remove slanderous or threatening online postings quickly or face fines of up to 50 million euros. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LAITH KHALAF, SENIOR ANALYST AT HARGREAVES LANSDOWN, SAYING: "There's lots of things on the table ranging from privacy to doing more to stop fraud and scams on these social media sites. If you look more broadly at what is going on, the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google have been so integral to consumers, that I think we can really expect much more public scrutiny of what they do and probably much more regulation. So I think in a way, they've really become victims of their own success." According to the letters seen by Reuters, the terms criticised by the authorities include not allowing users to go to court in their country of residence but requiring them to go to a California court where the companies are based. Not identifying sponsored content clearly and an excessive power for the companies deciding the suitability of content, also issues. Sources say the companies attempted to resolve the matter with the authorities earlier this week. Google and Facebook were not immediately available for comment. And a spokesman for Twitter declined to comment.