TikTok owner ByteDance, social media platform X and online travel aggregator Booking.com have notified the European Commission that they may be considered gatekeepers under the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). 

The European Commission will now decide within 45 days whether they, indeed, qualify as gatekeeper companies.

Under the DMA companies that exceed 45 million monthly active users and 10,000 annual business users are considered gatekeepers, as they have a significant impact on the market they are in. 

If ByteDance, X or Booking.com are given gatekeeper status this will give the companies six months to comply with DMA rules that are intended to stop large companies from monopolising online markets. 

“[The DMA] defines gatekeepers as those large online platforms that provide an important gateway between business users and consumers,” stated the European Commission in a statement. 

Alphabet, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft have all been designated as gatekeepers and will have to follow DMA rules on their business practices from 7 March. 

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Gatekeeper platforms are expected to allow business users access to their user data, allow third parties to operate alongside the gatekeeper platform’s own services and provide fair and transparent information to companies advertising on their platforms. 

Gatekeeper platforms cannot prevent their users from uninstalling any pre-installed software or applications and they cannot prevent consumers from using other businesses outside of their own platforms. 

In its 2023 thematic intelligence report into tech regulation, research and analysis company GlobalData forecast that ex ante regulation would become more ubiquitous in antitrust regulation. 

Whilst many tech companies have faced large fines from the EU due to their business practices, GlobalData’s report explains that fines alone are often not enough to deter businesses from anticompetitive behaviour.