named 'gatekeeper' under EU’s digital markets law

The European Commission has designated hotel and apartment rental website as a "gatekeeper" under the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). The Commission also opened a market investigation to examine whether the social network X (formerly Twitter) should receive this label as well.

The DMA is designed to ensure fair competition on digital platforms. It regulates gatekeepers, large digital platforms that provide an important gateway between businesses and consumers, whose position can grant them the power to act as bottlenecks in the digital economy. Gatekeepers are subject to additional obligations.

After Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Bytedance (TikTok), Meta (Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook) and Microsoft, the European Commission has now also named ​ as a gatekeeper.

“ joins the list of core platform services required to adhere to DMA rules,” said Margrethe Vestager, the Commission’s executive vice-president in charge of competition policy. “Holidaymakers will start benefiting from more choice and hotels will have more business opportunities.”

The company has six months to comply with its new obligations. For example, certain forms of bundling will be prohibited and personal data collected for one service will not be allowed to be used for another. Some obligations take effect immediately, such as the duty to inform the Commission of any intended concentration in the digital sector.

If gatekeepers fail to comply with the requirements, the Commission can impose fines of up to 10 per cent of the company's total worldwide turnover, which can go up to 20 per cent in case of repeated infringements.

The Commission also wants to designate X as a gatekeeper, but the social network submitted a rebuttal against that decision. Despite meeting the legal thresholds - at least 45 million monthly active users and a turnover of 7.5 billion euros over three financial years - X argues that it is not a major gateway between businesses and consumers. The Commission will now examine the case. The investigation should be completed within five months.

The Commission also determined that two other digital service providers don’t qualify as important gateways even though they meet the quantitative thresholds: X Ads and TikTok Ads, the advertising services of the two social networking sites.


Logo and website of © PHOTO LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP

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