Big Tech giants Meta and TikTok have both launched legal attacks on the European Commission over its Digital Services Act (DSA).
The two social media outlets are taking cases in the European Union General Court over a financial levy in the regulation, with the body demanding that so-called Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) come together and cough up a total of €45.2 million for the bloc.
Firms are expected to pay up to 0.05 per cent of their annual global profits to the European Commission, with the charge being justified by Brussels as being needed to pay for efforts to monitor Big Tech compliance with the DSA.
Meta does not appear keen on the idea; a spokesman for the Californian-based tech firm told Brussels Signal that the way the charge has been arrived at was “unfair”.
“We support the objectives of the DSA and have already introduced a number of measures to help us meet our regulatory obligations, but we disagree with the methodology used to calculate these fees,” the spokesman said.
In particular, he highlighted the “seemingly arbitrary” decision to base the charge on a company’s profits, which the firm felt could “victimise” certain companies over others.
“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,” the spokesman said.
TikTok officials also said they disagreed with the method used to calculate how much they owed the EC.
The Chinese-owned company also highlighted alleged problems with the body’s method of ascertaining the number of users that actively use their products.
“We disagree with the fee and are appealing on a number of grounds, including the use of flawed third party estimates of our monthly active user numbers as a basis for calculating the total amount,” the firm said.
Reports have indicated that it will likely be down to Meta and Alphabet – the parent company of Google and YouTube – to pay the lion’s share of the EC charges.
TikTok is expected to be the third-largest contributor.
MEPs have grilled the European Union’s self-styled “digital enforcer” Thierry Breton over his backing of what they termed “Stalinist” censorship via the Digital Services Act. https://t.co/uBWr9lGuWy
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) February 8, 2024