The net is closing in

The European Union, like California, is starting to rein in the ability of the digital platforms to do whatever they want, to whomever they want, for any reason:

New EU regulation came into play at the start of the week that applies to digital storefronts, most notably Apple and Google’s for mobile devices. With the new regulations significantly strengthen the rights of those selling through such marketplaces.

The rules, which you can see here in full if you’re happy to fight through them, or as discussed here by the EGDF’s Jari-Pekka Kaleva on GI.Biz, cover a wide range of ongoing issues that developers have with stores.

Platforms will have to provide 30 days notice to publishers before removing content from stores, allowing them time to appeal or make changes to their software. So no immediate and opaque bans (article 4).

The regulations (in article 5) will force stores to be more transparent in how their ranking systems work, letting publishers understand how ‘trending’ apps are being chosen for instance.

Article 7 follows similar themes, with storefronts having to disclose any ‘differentiated treatment’ it may give one seller of goods over another, which should put paid to any real (or imagined) preferential treatment for larger publishers – or at least make it clear to everyone how and when the playing field isn’t even.

Also, that information, and all the information that publishers receive will have to be written in terms that you can understand. With all terms and conditions to be drafted in ‘plain and intelligible language’.

Armchair lawyers and real lawyers have been discussing various deplatformings as well as the 72 Bears vs Patreon situation. One thing they have repeatedly failed to grasp, however, is that the very clear trend of the legislators is strongly pro-consumer and anti-platform.

Some have questioned why I’m not banned from various platforms when less controversial figures have been. But there is no reason for suspicion as the reason is very straightforward: I live in Europe and any sensible US-based company is very, very hesitant to put itself at the mercy of an anti-US European court given the enthusiasm European courts have repeatedly demonstrated for saddling US tech companies with massive fines.

Never let it be said that the ideological Left is all bad. Their instinctive opposition to corpocracy is the one thing they have on the ideological Right.