Big Tech Compliance Tracker: Alibaba Faces $2.75 Billion Fine From China; Google Hit With $36.5 Million Penalty In Turkey

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Here’s the latest news from the technology industry, which is coming under increasing global scrutiny from governments and consumers.

Alibaba Faces $2.75 Billion Fine From Chinese Authorities

Alibaba is facing a $2.75 billion financial penalty from Chinese authorities over alleged antitrust contraventions. The penalty is approximately 4 percent of the firm’s 2019 domestic revenue and allegedly came in response to a number of years of market-power abuses, particularly refusing to allow some merchants that it works with to work with other eCommerce firms.

“The penalty issued today served to alert and catalyze companies like ours. It reflects the regulators’ thoughtful and normative expectations toward our industry’s development. It is an important action to safeguard fair market competition and quality development of internet platform economies,” Alibaba wrote in a letter.

In addition, China has reportedly told 34 tech companies to fix their purportedly anti-competitive practices within the next month, Bloomberg reported. Watchdogs cautioned tech firms to “heed Alibaba’s example.”

Google Hit With $36.5 Million Fine In Turkey

Google is facing a financial penalty of over 296 million lira (approximately $36.5 million) from the competition board of Turkey over allegedly taking advantage of the platform’s top standing in search engine offerings, Reuters reported. “We will evaluate the decision (of the board) and continue working with the Competition Authority by maintaining our usual constructive approach,” Google said in a statement, per Reuters.

US House Focuses On Purported Big Tech Antitrust Practices

The Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has green lighted a report that accuses large technology companies of acquiring or crushing less sizable companies. 

Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook each hold monopoly power over significant sectors of our economy. This monopoly moment must end,” U.S. Rep. David Cicilline said in a statement. “I look forward to crafting legislation that addresses the significant concerns we have raised.”

The report, which is in excess of 400 pages, is the first congressional review of the sector. It became official last week after a long hearing and a 24-17 vote along party lines.

Hawley Pursues Big Tech With ‘Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act’

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley has proposed the Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act, which would take back control from large companies and “return it to the American people” via clamping down on business combinations and large acquisitions, according to a press release.

The legislation would prohibit all business combinations and purchases by firms that have market caps over $100 billion. Additionally, the legislation would ban “dominant digital firms from privileging their own search results over those of competitors without explicit disclosure.”

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission Begins Inquiry Into Facebook

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) announced last week that it has started an inquiry into Facebook regarding a possible contravention of European privacy regulations, CNBC reported.

The Irish data protection regulator said its inquiry is concentrated on news that a data set of 533 million users of the social media platform throughout the globe was made public through a digital hacker site. Facebook, whose European headquarters are stationed in Dublin, Ireland, said it is “cooperating fully” with the DPC and noted that the matter “relates to features that make it easier for people to find and connect with friends on our services,” CNBC reported.



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