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EU reportedly drafts 'hit list' of big tech companies to face stricter rules

It won't surprise you who might be on the short list.

Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It’s no secret that the European Union wants a further crackdown on tech giants, and it may use a simple shortlist to decide which companies face new restrictions. Financial Times sources say the EU is drafting a “hit list” of up to 20 big tech firms that would face harsher regulations than smaller rivals, such as mandatory data sharing and greater transparency. The list would be based on criteria like market share, user counts, and the dependency others have on their platforms.

Just who’s on the list isn’t clear. However, it’s believed to be very US-centric and would likely include known heavyweights like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. That likely wouldn’t help tensions with the current American leadership, but it would also dovetail with a US House subcommittee investigation that accused those same companies of holding monopoly power that needed regulation.

It’s not certain when the list would be ready. Proposals for the Digital Services Act that would revamp the EU’s internet regulation are due in early December, but it’s not certain if the list would be ready at the same time.

Whatever the timing, the aim would remain the same. The EU reportedly wants to go beyond fining tech companies and instead find a way to make those companies quickly change their behavior, whether it’s opening access to the competition or even forcing them to split up. In theory, it would pressure corporations to mend their ways where they’d otherwise shrug off penalties.