Irish regulators on Friday slapped a 345 million euro ($369 million) fine on TikTok over data breaches, part of a battle between the European Union and big tech companies over issues ranging from tax avoidance and hate speech to data privacy and monopolistic practices.
Here is a summary of the battle between the tech giants and Brussels.
Ireland issues the strictest fines in this area, as Dublin hosts the European offices of several major tech companies and data privacy is enforced by local regulators.
Friday’s huge fine against TikTok for mishandling children’s data came just four months after Ireland imposed a record €1.2 billion fine on Meta for illegally transferring personal data between Europe and the United States.
Luxembourg previously held the record for data fines after fining Amazon 746 million euros in 2021.
Brussels has handed out more than eight billion euros in fines to Google alone for abusing its dominant market position.
In 2018, the company was fined 4.3 billion euros – the largest antitrust fine ever in the EU, even after it was reduced to 4.1 billion euros – for using its Android mobile operating system to promote its search engine.
The company has also been hit with billions in fines for abusing its power in the online shopping and advertising sectors.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, recommended in June that Google would have to sell parts of its business and could be fined up to 10 percent of its global revenue if the company did not comply.
Apple has also been in the EU’s crosshairs, with Brussels examining its dominance among music streaming apps.
The EU has had little success in getting tech companies to pay more taxes in Europe, where they are accused of funneling profits to low-tax economies like Ireland and Luxembourg.
In one of the most infamous cases, the European Commission ordered Apple to pay €13 billion in back taxes in Ireland in 2016 after ruling that a tax treaty with the government was illegal.
But EU judges overturned the decision, saying there was no evidence the company had broken the rules, a decision the commission has since been trying to overturn.
The commission also lost a case involving Amazon, which had ordered 250 million euros in back taxes to be repaid to Luxembourg.
Disinformation, hate speech
Web platforms have long been accused of failing to combat hate speech, disinformation and piracy.
The EU’s Digital Services Act aims to force companies to address these issues or face fines of up to six percent of their global turnover.
The law came into effect in August for 19 major platforms, including TikTok, Facebook and YouTube, before being rolled out more widely next year.
Pay for news
Google and other online platforms have also been accused of making billions from news without sharing the revenue with those who collect it.
To address this, the EU has created a form of copyright called ‘related rights’, which allows print media to claim compensation for the use of their content.
France was a test case for the rules and after initial resistance, Google and Facebook agreed to pay some French media for articles appearing in internet searches.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)