Urged by European regulators, social-media platforms Google+, Facebook and Twitter adjust terms and conditions
Google, Facebook and Twitter will adjust the general terms and conditions of their social-media platforms Google+, Facebook and Twitter. This means that consumers, when using these online platforms, will be faced with general terms and conditions that are fairer. After investigating these platforms’ general terms and conditions, the European consumer authorities have called for this adjustment. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is one of these regulators. Said investigation revealed that, through the small print, consumers often agree with general terms and conditions that restrict their rights in a manner that is not allowed.
Adjustment of general terms and conditions
Facebook, Google+ and Twitter will adjust their general terms and conditions with regard to, for example, the right to cancel purchases, going to a local court rather than a US court, and expanded liability in favor of consumers.
Google has implemented the adjustments for Google+ satisfactorily. Facebook and Twitter still fall short on several points, for example, with regard to the deletion of consumer accounts and content. In addition, Facebook will remove from its general terms and conditions that advertisements do not need to be recognizable as such.
The platforms have committed to implementing the adjustments in all languages no later than March 2018. Depending on the final adjustments, ACM will, in consultation with other regulators, deliberate about follow-up actions.
The European consumer authorities work together within a network for consumer protection (Consumer Protection Cooperation, CPC). The consumer authorities are able to launch joint investigations into market participants that operate in different European countries.
General terms and conditions of online video streaming platforms
Next to this joint action carried out by European regulators, ACM, last year, also looked into the general terms and conditions of online video-streaming platforms. It was revealed that these general terms and conditions, too, contained unfair or possibly unfair provisions. Here, too, does ACM expressly seek cooperation with its international partners.
Consumers in the digital economy is one of the key priorities on the 2018-2019 ACM Agenda. The consultation of the ACM Agenda was launched this week.