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March 26, 2018

EU Antitrust boss sets out to slice Google’s power

What will it take for the EU Commission to squash Google's dominance?

By April Slattery

Amid concerns that Google has a too dominant position in social media, the EU antitrust chief has said it will not back down on breaking down the tech giant.

The EU Commission has vowed it will make changes to the way Google operates, regarding its search engines and apps, following concerns that the company holds too much power over other online platforms.

In the changes the tech giant could see some of its basic aspects broken up, such as bringing in fairer search results and engaging customers with other sites that are not as popular as the big brands. This will give smaller businesses a competitive advantage, regardless of their size and popularity.

Margrethe Vestager, an EU Commissioner, has said the threat to split Google into smaller companies will remain open by implementing new rules.

These include the implementation of a new regulation framework, which is currently being drafted. This aims to regulate e-commerce sites, app stores and search engines in the hope of making the search engine more transparent in how businesses rank in search results.

The new regulation aims to make the web more equal.

The challenges Google face from the EU Commissioner will not be the first conflict the tech giant has fought. Last year, the EU placed a €2.4bn fine on the company over its search engine results, manipulating results to display certain company’s top for its own gain.

Google faces an uphill battle in the case, as EU Commissioners are not the only ones against the tech giants power. Creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, is also in favour of Google having its power cut.

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Berners-Lee has urged for more action to be taken against firms, such as Google, in order to make the internet a safer place after stating the tech giant has become ‘too dominant’.

“In recent years, we’ve seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections, and criminals steal troves of personal data,” he said. “What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms,” the Computer Scientist said.

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The tech giant is currently under investigation by the EU Commission, assessing how it operates day-to-day regarding mobile apps and services for searching. Google is also facing a similar investigation for advertising on its network.

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