A visual protest right outside the European Commission highlights how Big Tech uses dirty tricks to try to block any attempt to properly regulate them.
This morning, SumOfUs campaigners installed a full-sized bed outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels to send a message to European officials: “Don’t get into bed with Big Tech.”
The visual protest took place ahead of a key committee vote on the Digital Services Act (DSA) - a tough new law that will force these tech giants to be accountable and ensure they are not allowed to be the dominant designers of tomorrow’s technology regulations. The protest follows new research that reveals the millions Big Tech companies have pumped into lobbying operations in the EU.
Big Tech will use every dirty trick in the book to try to block any attempt to properly regulate them. They will spend millions of euros and send in an army of lobbyists - that’s why it’s so important that EU leaders stand their ground
A new “playbook” released today exposes five key ways that Big Tech courts lawmakers: from claiming to be experts on how to regulate their own industry, to spreading fear about Europe falling behind China, to touting reports from think tank groups that they themselves fund. It’s clear that Big Tech lobbyists have refined their key narratives to use with lawmakers, and are using them to try to write the rules that will regulate their own industry.
New revelations from Lobby Control and Corporate Europe Observatory show that 75% of high-level EU Commission meetings on the DSA have taken place with Big Tech industry lobbyists. This leaves civil society jockeying for the few remaining slots.
Big Tech lobbying efforts have since moved on to target national governments and Members of the European Parliament. No companies across any sector in Europe spend more on lobbying today than Google, Facebook or Microsoft. The digital industry as a whole is pouring upwards of €97 million on lobbying the EU every year.
The DSA and the accompanying Digital Markets Act aims to put an end to Big Tech’s destructive business model. Tiemo Wolken, a Member of the European Parliament, said: "The Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act can put a stop to the surveillance machine of the big platforms. We should imagine them as a new digital constitution for Europe that puts citizens' rights first, holds Big Tech accountable for their abusive behaviour and ends their manipulative practices."
Facebook and others know that their platforms are harming children and teens - as exposed by the Wall Street Journal recently, the company knew that Instagram has a significant impact on teen’s mental health - yet they choose to do nothing about it.
The world is looking to Europe to show it can rein in these tech companies that are increasingly out of control. If EU legislators pass the toughest possible law, it will encourage other governments to follow suit.
Over the coming weeks and leading up to the final DSA vote, the People Vs Big Tech will be releasing more reports, campaigns, and media materials on this website.