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The European Commission Says Social Networks Are Slow On Consumer Rights Changes

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The European Commission said that social media firms should make their terms and conditions fair for everyone but at the same time, ensure the platforms are free of illegal contents.

The social media giants, Google, Facebook, and Twitter were sanctioned Last year and asked to make changes to suit the EU’s requirements. However, Ms Vera Jouvora, European Commissioner for Justice has expressed her displeasure that the changes were taking so much time. So far, only a part of the requirements has been fulfilled by Facebook and Twitter. Google+ in its latest proposals met with the demands requested by the EC’s authorities.

The crux of the changes includes how an information about a contract termination or content removal are relayed to the consumers. After the EU consumer authorities sent a note to social media firms expressing their displeasure about some consumer rights issues, the social media operators agree to adjust their methods of operation to suit the demands of the consumers.

As highlighted by the BBC, the social media operators have unanimously agreed to amend:

the terms of services limiting or totally excluding the liability of social media networks in connection with the performance of the service; the terms requiring consumers to waive mandatory EU consumer rights, such as their right to withdraw from an online purchase; the terms depriving consumers of their right to go to court in their member state of residence, and providing the application of California law; and the term releasing the platform from the duty to identify commercial communications and sponsored content.”

While the social media operators, Google, Facebook and Twitter promised to effect the changes and make their terms compliant with EU rules within the first quarter of 2018, only Google+ has been specific with the timeframe with which its platform would take down illegal content. Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, haven’t committed a specific timeframe; they have only promised to provide the authority with an email address which will be used to notify infringements.

Ms. Jourova believes that the social media networks should be willing to submit to consumer rights since their platforms are used to advertise products and services. “I am pleased that the enforcement of the EU rules to protect consumers by national authorities is bearing fruit, as some companies are now making their platforms safer for consumers. However, it is unacceptable that this is still not complete and it is taking so much time”, she said further.

The EU has published the changes it expects the operators to implement, with a belief that a vast majority of consumers will find them beneficial.

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