EU targets Big Tech with “hit list” facing tougher rules

A Facebook logo in front of an EU flag in this photo illustration on November 20, 2017.
Enlarge / A Facebook logo in front of an EU flag in this photo illustration on November 20, 2017.

EU regulators are drawing up a “hit list” of up to 20 large Internet companies, likely to include Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook and Apple, that will be subject to new and far more stringent rules aimed at curbing their market power.

Under the plans, large platforms that find themselves on the list will have to comply with tougher regulation than smaller competitors, according to people familiar with the discussions, including new rules that will force them to share data with rivals and an obligation to be more transparent on how they gather information.

The list will be compiled based on a number of criteria, including market share of revenues and number of users, meaning the likes of Facebook and Google are likely to be included. Those deemed to be so powerful that rivals cannot trade without using their platforms could also be added.

The move to gain new powers is part of a growing effort in Brussels to force big technology companies to change their business practices without a full investigation or any finding that they have broken existing laws.

It follows complaints that the current regulatory regime has resulted in weak and belated action, which has done little to foster competition.

The number of companies and the precise criteria for the list is still being discussed, but it is the latest indication of how serious the EU is about coming up with powers to limit the power of platforms seen as “too big to care.”

“The immense market power of these platforms is not good for competition,” said a person with intimate knowledge of the discussions.

The proposals, which are still being discussed among senior EU officials, could

She bootstrapped her company after facing bias. Now she’s helping others do the same.

This story originally ran on CNBC.com

Melissa Bradley’s mission to help women and people of color build their businesses stems from the hardships she faced as a young entrepreneur.

The 52-year-old, co-founder of the mentorship tech platform Ureeka and a Georgetown University professor, started her first company shortly after she graduated from college 30 years ago. The business’s mission was to provide financial literacy services to parents.

Bradley says that when she went to a government agency for a loan, she was told she had three strikes against her: She was Black, she was a woman and the person said she didn’t know any successful Black women in finance.

Bradley, who recently participated in the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and CNBC + Acorns Invest in You’s “Rebuilding Better: A Virtual Town Hall for America’s Small & New Business Owners,” still managed to get her company off the ground. “I bootstrapped,” she recalled. “I kept my day job.”

She ultimately pivoted the business to provide billing and maintaining products and services for other financial advisors and, after a couple of years, sold the company.

“I was tired of the sexism and racism I was experiencing,” she said.

These days, Bradley is trying to bridge the gap between entrepreneurship and equity.

“All of these experiences made me realize that this is even harder for women and people of color because the market is not in our favor,” she said.

“It became super-important for me, even after I became an angel investor, to help people pave their way forward and really tackle the obstacles that are going to come their way.”

To that end, she co-founded 1863 Ventures, which accelerates what she calls “new majority” entrepreneurs — women and people of color — from high growth potential to high growth. These days her