EU sets sights on Musk’s X for potential digital market regulation

Elon Musk

3rd March 2024 – (Brussels) Elon Musk’s rebranded social media platform X, alongside Bytedance’s TikTok and travel conglomerate Booking, could soon be navigating the complexities of the European Union’s new digital antitrust regulations. The European Commission has indicated these companies may fall under the stringent rules of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), aiming to create fair competition in the digital sector.

The DMA, targeting the operations of the world’s largest tech firms, including industry giants such as Apple and Meta, seeks to dismantle any unfair advantages enjoyed by these “gatekeepers” of the digital marketplace. The act calls for a more equitable environment where smaller entities can compete without being overshadowed by the might of established platforms.

As part of the DMA, companies are prohibited from promoting their own services over those of competitors on their platforms or leveraging data from rival companies to gain a competitive edge. Moreover, the sharing of user data across different platforms can only be conducted with explicit user consent.

The announcement on Friday from the Commission revealed that X, TikTok, and Booking had self-reported their digital services as potentially falling within the ‘gatekeeper’ category. This self-reporting could lead to significant operational changes for these companies to comply with the DMA’s requirements.

TikTok, already embroiled in a legal challenge against its designation as a key social network under DMA rules, is also contending its categorisation in the online advertising space. TikTok spokesperson Elliott Burton expressed the company’s stance, “TikTok, as a competitor to the established tech firms, should not be considered a gatekeeper in the realm of online advertising,” he stated, asserting the company’s determination to make its case to the Commission.

Booking, for its part, has adopted a cooperative stance, committing to a constructive dialogue regarding its compliance with the DMA.