The Guest Blog

Guest blog post by Thomas Lockhart, a Danish marketer working at the digital agency nodes.dk, responsible for marketing activities and PR on the Danish market.

The EU is one step closer to getting large tech companies like Google, Amazon and Apple to give up their priceless algorithms for page- and product ranks on their platforms. But it’s a small sacrifice compared to other proposed legislation.

Just before the Easter Holiday, the European Parliament approved an update to the EU New Deal For Consumers. The update is meant to improve ranking transparency in online marketplaces and it could potentially lead to tech-giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple having to reveal their search and rank algorithms.

The European Parliament stated in their press release on the 17th of April that:
“Online marketplaces and comparison services (e.g. Amazon, eBay, Airbnb, Skyscanner) will have to disclose the main parameters determining how offers resulting from a search query are ranked. Consumers must also be informed from whom they are buying goods or services (a trader, the online marketplace itself or a private person) and whether personalised pricing was used.”

According to the Danish tech journalist, Jacob Wittorff, large tech companies will have to reveal how they rank i.e. products and pages for consumers:
“if you for example search for “music streaming” on the App Store, the company has to reveal why Apple’s competitors are further down the list than Apple’s own services, “ says Jacob Wittorff in a podcast from CW. This could also be the case for Google and how they determine page ranks.

But according to Jacob Wittorff, the update to the New Deal For Consumers is a small intervention compared to what others have proposed.
US Presidential candidate wants to break up tech companies
Elisabeth Warren, who is a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, says he wants to break up the giant tech companies. A proposal, that goes further than any EU directive so far:
“To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies,” she writes in her own blog post on Medium.

It is, however, doubtful that Elisabeth Warren will raise support for the 2020 election and with the new directive having to pass through the EU Council of Ministers next, tech-companies will have 24 months to prepare before any legislation forces them to reveal their precious algorithms.

 

 

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