Meta & TikTok sue EU over Digital Services Act fees

  • Both Meta and ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) are looking to sue the European Union when it comes to fees they have to pay to be regulated in the region.
  • Under the Digital Services Act, moderators are required to monitor all platforms with a minimum user base of 45 million.
  • The regulated platforms are now required to split a bill of €45.2 million, which Meta and ByteDance are now contesting.

The European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) does not have many fans among the big tech companies and platforms operating in the region, so much so that Meta and ByteDance (which is the parent company of TikTok) have issued lawsuits over fees they are required to pay for being regulated in the EU.

As reported by Politico this week, Meta questioned the fee it was compelled to pay under the DSA, with ByteDance doing the same a day later.

The fee in question needs to be split between 22 big tech companies/platforms in the region, with the figure of €45.2 million being calculated by EU moderators.

Each of the Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) must have a minimum of 45 million users in the EU, with each of their contributions towards the aforementioned fee related to just how many users they have.

One of the contentious elements to this is the fact that the percentage of fees to be paid by each organisation is also dependent upon profits garnered in 2022. In the case of Amazon and Pinterest, which reported very small profits in those periods, neither company owe anything.

Meta, however, needs to pay €11 million, while ByteDance has not publicly disclosed the figure it owes at the time of writing. Naturally both companies take umbrage over how the fees have been calculated, especially when an organisation like Amazon can seemingly pay nothing while others are required to pay fees in the millions of euros.

“Currently, companies that record a loss don’t have to pay, even if they have a large user base or represent a greater regulatory burden, which means some companies pay nothing, leaving others to pay a disproportionate amount of the total,” a Meta spokesperson told Engadget.

How the lawsuits will play out remains to be seen, but the European Commission is quite confident.

“Our decision and methodology are solid. We will defend our position in court,” spokesperson Johannes Bahrke told Politico.

Along with the €45.2 million supervisory fee, moderators have said that they will need to hire at up to 150 people during the course of 2024 in order to effectively monitor the 22 companies.

[Image – Photo by ALEXANDRE LALLEMAND on Unsplash]


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