Facebook takes swipe at Apple while supporting draft EU rules

STOCKHOLM/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Facebook Inc on Tuesday said it hopes new draft rules by the European Union aimed at curbing powers of big U.S. companies could set boundaries for Apple Inc, its latest volley in an ongoing feud.

FILE PHOTO: The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in an illustration photo taken in Bordeaux, France, February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

The companies went up against each other after Apple announced a privacy feature allowing users to block advertisers from tracking them across different application.

Facebook and other companies, which earn revenue from advertisement sales, had said the feature will hurt developers. Apple had hit back saying, “When invasive tracking is your business model, you tend not to welcome transparency and customer choice.”

One of the draft EU rules - the Digital Markets Act (DMA) - targets big companies and calls for a halt in favouring their own services on their platforms.

“We hope the DMA will also set boundaries for Apple,” a Facebook spokesman said.

“Apple controls an entire ecosystem from device to app store and apps, and uses this power to harm developers and consumers, as well as large platforms like Facebook,” he said.

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Another rule, the Digital Services Act (DSA), requires companies with more than 45 million users to do more to tackle illegal content and intentional manipulation of platforms to influence elections, among other requirements, or face large fines.

Facebook has been routinely criticized here for not doing enough to stop people from using the platform for hate speech or spreading fake news.

The social media network, one of the U.S. companies which will come under the ambit of the new rules, welcomed the stance by the European Union and said they are “on the right track to help preserve what is good about the internet”.

“We have long called for regulation on harmful content and have actively contributed to several European initiatives in this area, including the EU Code of Conduct on hate speech.”

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm and Foo Yun Chee in Brussels, Editing by William Maclean