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Facebook, Google and Twitter have been given one month to comply with European Union consumer rules, or they could face enforcement action, the European Commission has said as it seeks to clamp down on social media scams.

The EC said that consumer authorities across the union had received a growing number of complaints from consumers targeted by fraud or scams on social media websites.

Consumers have also complained that they are subject to terms of service that are not in line with EU consumer law, such as the right to withdraw from an online purchase, the EC said.

The Commission said that following discussions with Facebook, Google and Twitter on Thursday it had given them one month to come up with detailed plans on how they would comply with EU regulations.

If the final proposals are not deemed satisfactory, the Commission said, “consumer authorities could ultimately resort to enforcement action.”

The three companies were first contacted by the Commission about the issue in November.

Věra Jourová, EC commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, said:

Social media has become part of our daily lives and a majority of Europeans use it regularly. Given the growing importance of online social networks it is time to make sure that our strong EU rules, that are there to protect consumers from unfair practices, are complied with in this sector.

It is not acceptable that EU consumers can only call on a court in California to resolve a dispute. Nor can we accept that users are deprived of their right to withdraw from an on-line purchase. Social media companies also need to take more responsibility in addressing scams and fraud happening on their platforms.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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