Social media: to do more for EU consumer rules
“As social media networks are used as advertising and commercial platforms, they must fully respect consumer rules. I am pleased that the enforcement of EU rules to protect consumers by national authorities is bearing fruit, as some companies are now making their platforms safer for consumers; however, it is unacceptable that this is not complete and that it is taking so much time. This confirms that we need a ‘New Deal for Consumers’: EU consumer rules should be respected and if companies don’t comply, they should face sanctions.” Said Vera Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.
Social media companies need to do more to respond to the requests, made last March by the European Commission and Member States’ consumer authorities, to comply with EU consumer rules. The changes made by Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to align their terms of services with EU consumer protection rules have been published today. These changes will already benefit more than a quarter of a billion of EU consumers who use social media: EU consumers will not be forced to waive mandatory EU consumer rights, such as their right to withdraw from an on-line purchase; they will be able to lodge their complaints in Europe, rather than in California; and the platforms will take up their fair share of responsibilities towards EU consumers, similarly to the off-line service providers. However, the changes only partially fulfil the requirements under EU consumer law. 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 national consumer authorities and the Commission will monitor the implementation of the promised changes and will actively use the notice and action procedure provided by the companies. Moreover, authorities may take action including enforcement measures where necessary.