EU authorities crack down on Facebook, Twitter & Google scams

The European Commission have given the social media sites one month to tackle the issue.

Consumer authorities from the European Union have released a press release asking Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) to clamp down on frauds and scams within one month, otherwise, they would face enforcement action. 

According to the EC, there has been an increased number of complaints from consumers that were targeted on these sites.

Examples of the scams identified in the press release included:

  • scams involving payments taken from consumers;
  • subscription traps where consumers are offered to register for a free trial but are not given clear and sufficient information;
  • marketing of counterfeited products;
  • fake promotions such as “win a smartphone for 1 €” have proliferated over social media which were in fact, a true contest but entailing a hidden long-term subscriptions for several hundred euros per year.

The Commission have said it would give Facebook, Twitter and Google up to one month to come up with plans on how they would comply with the EU regulations.

Commissioner Věra Jourová said: “Social media has become part of our daily lives and a majority of Europeans use it regularly. Given the growing importance of online social networks it is time to make sure that our strong EU rules, that are there to protect consumers from unfair practices, are complied with in this sector. It is not acceptable that EU consumers can only call on a court in California to resolve a dispute. Nor can we accept that users are deprived of their right to withdraw from an on-line purchase.

“Social media companies also need to take more responsibility in addressing scams and fraud happening on their platforms. I want to thank the EU consumer authorities who have worked tirelessly with the Commission on this important issue over the past months. From today, social media companies have one month to come up with solutions to comply with EU rules.”