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Social media companies need to do more to fully comply with EU consumer rules

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European Commission – Press release

Social media companies need to do more to respond to the requests, made last March by the European Commission and Member States’ consumer authorities, to comply with EU consumer rules.

Brussels, 15 February 2018

Social media companies need to do more to respond to the requests, made last March by the European Commission and Member States’ consumer authorities, to comply with EU consumer rules.

The changes made by Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to align their terms of services with EU consumer protection rules have been published today.

These changes will already benefit more than a quarter of a billion of EU consumers who use social media: EU consumers will not be forced to waive mandatory EU consumer rights, such as their right to withdraw from an on-line purchase; they will be able to lodge their complaints in Europe, rather than in California; and the platforms will take up their fair share of responsibilities towards EU consumers, similarly to the off-line service providers. However, the changes only partially fulfil the requirements under EU consumer law.

Vera Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “As social media networks are used as advertising and commercial platforms, they must fully respect consumer rules. I am pleased that the enforcement of 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. This confirms that we need a ‘New Deal for Consumers’: EU consumer rules should be respected and if companies don’t comply, they should face sanctions.”

While Google’s latest proposals appear to be in line with the requests made by consumer authorities, Facebook and, more significantly, Twitter, have only partially addressed important issues about their liability and about how users are informed of possible content removal or contract termination.

When it comes to the “notice and action procedure” used by consumer protection authorities to report and request the removal of illegal content, the changes by some companies are insufficient. While Google+ has set up a protocol, including deadlines to deal with the requests, Facebook and Twitter have only agreed to provide a dedicated e-mail address that national authorities can use to notify infringements, without committing to deal with such requests within specific timeframes.

Following numerous complaints by consumers who had been targeted by fraud or scams when using these websites, as well as having been subject to certain terms of services that do not respect EU consumer law, an enforcement action was launched in November 2016.

Since then, social media operators specifically 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 on-line 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;
  • the term releasing the platform from the duty to identify commercial communications and sponsored content.

The companies committed to implement the changes to their terms in all language versions in the first quarter of 2018.

Next steps

As already stated in its Communication on tackling illegal content online published in September 2017, the Commission expects online platforms to swiftly and proactively detect, remove and prevent the re-appearance of illegal content online. The Commission is currently working on the follow-up actions to this Communication.

The national consumer authorities and the Commission will monitor the implementation of the promised changes and will actively use the notice and action procedure provided by the companies. They will focus on illegal commercial content concerning unwanted subscriptions and other scams. Moreover, authorities may take action including enforcement measures where necessary.

The Commission will present in April a ‘New Deal for Consumers’. This reform will propose to modernise the existing consumer law and ensure that they are properly enforced.

Background

On 16 March 2017, EU consumer authorities and the European Commission met with the companies to hear and discuss their proposed solutions. Following this meeting, the companies have made certain changes to their terms and conditions. However, the Commission and consumer authorities consider that further changes have to be made urgently (see press release).

The Consumer Protection Cooperation authorities, under the lead of the French Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), sent a common position to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in November 2016 asking them to improve a number of contract terms and set up a system to tackle illegal commercial content upon notification[1].

The EU Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation link national consumer authorities in a pan-European enforcement network. Thanks to this framework, a national authority in one EU country can call on their counterpart in another EU country to ask them to intervene in case of a cross-border infringement of EU consumer rules. Cooperation is common to various consumer-related pieces of legislation, such as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the E-commerce Directive, the Consumer Rights Directive or the Unfair Contract Terms Directive.

Under the CPC framework, authorities regularly review issues of common concern for consumer protection in the Single Market and coordinate their market surveillance and potential enforcement actions. The Commission facilitates the exchange of information among authorities and their coordination.

Online platforms need to take greater responsibility in content governance. The Communication provides common tools to swiftly and proactively detect, remove and prevent illegal content online from reappearing.

For more information

Table with the changes to the terms and conditions

 

[1] Please note that any assessment made in this action is without prejudice to any future assessment of compliance of the contract terms by CPC authorities or in judicial proceedings.

IP/18/761

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Kinguin Launches API Giving Merchants Access to Inventory and Award Winning Customer Support

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Kinguin Launches API Giving Merchants Access to Inventory and Award Winning Customer SupportReading Time: 2 minutes

 

Kinguin, one of the world’s leading online retailers in the video and PC game industry today announced the launch of the Kinguin application programming interface (API) for e-commerce. The newly released API is free to qualified online retailers and makes it easy to list, price, and sell thousands of video games while using Kinguin’s award-winning Customer Support and automated order-processing.

With the Kinguin e-commerce API, retailers gain access to a virtually endless supply of CD keys via Kinguin’s robust video and PC game catalog, eliminating traditional online store needs of inventory management and control, while offering larger, more diverse selections of products. Retailers can immediately add up to 15,000 games with customizable attributes such as pricing, descriptions and more to their existing store offerings.

Customers pay the participating store directly as normal, then, without any middlemen or delays, orders are automatically processed by Kinguin. Game keys are immediately dispatched once an automated purchase information has been received. Problems regarding game keys or transactions will be handled completely, professionally and immediately via Kinguin’s award-winning customer service channels – simplifying the purchasing experience for merchants and gamers.

“The mission of the Kinguin API for e-commerce is to make it easier for any e-commerce store to distribute virtual products. In this way, businesses can take advantage of the large volume of products available at Kinguin.net quickly, easily, and profitably,” says Kamil Grabowski, Project Manager behind Kinguin’s API for e-commerce. “Our goal is to satisfy the gaming community, both players and merchants, and with this API, it’s going to be easier than ever.”

To apply for the Kinguin API e-commerce solution, please apply here.

About Kinguin:
Founded in 2013, Kinguin has fast become the largest alternative marketplace to Steam, Origin, and Battle.net, with more than 7 million loyal customers globally. Kinguin’s mission is to create an ecosystem built for the gamer. To achieve this, Kinguin provides easy and secure access to games, innovative ways for gamers to trade and conduct commerce, and new ways for developers to reach customers directly. Kinguin is also involved with esports, esports venues, and esports centers of excellence worldwide. Visit https://www.kinguin.net and https://www.kinguin.io for more information.


Source: European Gaming Media

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Leap Gaming launches Instant Football

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Leap Gaming launches Instant FootballReading Time: 1 minute

 

Leap Gaming, a developer of 3D multi-platform casino and gaming solutions, has launched its latest game, titled Instant Football.

It provides an on-demand football experience through both desktop and mobile devices. Its hallmarks are realistic animated action and fast-paced betting options.

The interface is characteristically simple and intuitive. It features 16 teams. Its other features include the option to browse between games, on-demand activation of games and the ability to skip scenes and matches for faster betting.

Instant Football offers a broad range of betting markets, including home and away teams, and Rebet and Rebet*2 on the same teams – all of which are available 24/7.

Video footage has been created using motion capture technology to record professional players and scans of real stadiums, and is voiced with professional commentary.

The game also offers a range of customisable options, including the UI and UX, languages (the game automatically adjusts to location), currency and betting limits.

It is available directly through Leap Gaming, or via 1X2 Network, SG Digital and other selected platforms.

Yariv Lissauer, CEO of Leap Gaming, said: “Instant Football is one of our most complete game to date, and combines stunning graphics with professional commentary with a wide range of betting options to deliver a truly world-class player experience.

“Virtuals are becoming increasingly popular as players demand round the clock access to sports events and games, and we can certainly deliver this via titles such as Instant Football.”

 

Source: interGameOnline


Source: European Gaming Media

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NOVOMATIC Lottery Solutions wins Norsk Tipping’s competition

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NOVOMATIC Lottery Solutions wins Norsk Tipping’s competitionReading Time: 1 minute

 

NOVOMATIC Lottery Solutions (NLS), a full-service lottery provider based in Austria, has won a mini competition conducted by Norsk Tipping to find a suitable supplier of the digital version of the lottery’s most popular scratch game “Million Flax”.

“Million Flax” is one of the core products in Norsk Tipping’s portfolio of physical scratch games and it has won a great brand recognition since its launch in 1995. NLS offered not only a smooth transition of all elements from the physical ticket to its digital version but also proposed attractive and playful animations that can further enhance players’ retention.

“We are very happy that once again our offering has proven to be the best fit for Norsk Tipping’s sophisticated online games portfolio. It was a competitive bid and the fact that we won based on quality is another validation of NLS’ innovative approach to the eInstant game category” – explained Pall Palsson, Director of Product Management at NLS.

This win comes as part of the contract that NLS inked with Norsk Tipping in March 2017, following a competitive tender procedure. Under the terms of the contract, NLS supports the growth and diversity of lottery’s e-Instant portfolio and provides business development expertise in the area of interactive games.


Source: European Gaming Media

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