Insufficient changes to terms and conditions of social media giants show need for real EU sanctions

PRESS STATEMENT - 15.02.2018

Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have made changes to their terms of service in an effort to comply with EU consumer protection rules, following a joint action of national consumer authorities. However, Facebook and Twitter have not complied with all the changes required.


For BEUC, this shows that the EU Commission needs to take urgent action in its upcoming legislative package dedicated to updating consumer law [1]. It should make sure that all companies that do not respect EU law face serious and deterrent sanctions, including fines that are calculated on the basis of the company’s annual worldwide turnover, on the geographical scope and the gravity of the infringement.

Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), said: “We welcome that the authorities are looking into the terms and conditions of these companies. This reflects challenges made by consumer groups in France and Germany about these terms [2]. It is worrying that the companies have not addressed all the problems identified by the authorities.

“What this shows is that there is a need for real sanction powers when a company does not respect EU law. The incentive for companies to comply with the law is rather low. These fines should not be symbolic but a real deterrent, going up to a percentage of the company’s annual worldwide turnover.”

Notes to editors

[1] These proposals for reform will be called the New Deal for Consumers and should be released in April.

[2] More on these actions can be found in our report on EU and national consumer law enforcement (COJEF) (as of page 23).