Two months ahead of the European elections, a Harris Interactive poll shows that European citizens want stronger regulation of tech giants like Google and Facebook.
The poll indicates that a large majority of Europeans would like to see the EU create safeguards so that dominant tech companies don’t get to decide how Europe’s cultural wealth is distributed. It shows that Europeans care about creators getting paid fairly and are worried that EU institutions are not doing enough to rein in the power of the U.S. tech giants.
These are the key takeaways:
1. Europeans want EU institutions to step up.
64 % of Europeans polled believe that over the past 5 years the European Union has not done enough to regulate the power of the U.S. Tech Giants.*
That’s a strong message for European politicians with two months to go before parliamentary elections. The debate over the tech giants is intensifying around issues like the revenue tax planned in France, “fake news,” and market dominance – and the copyright directive regulating the distribution of content on the big platforms is part of this.
2. Europeans would like to see artists and creators get better deals for Internet distribution.
80% of Europeans are in favor of the European Union implementing rules to guarantee the remuneration of artists and content creators for the distribution of their content on internet platforms. This underscores the sentiment that the big platforms have captured too much value. It’s only fair that this value be shared among the stakeholders, especially when it comes to the millions of European creators whose work is distributed online, generating profits for the big Internet platforms.
3. Europeans are convinced that the U.S. Tech Giants are not playing fair.
74 % of Europeans think that when the Tech Giants speak out on an issue, they do so to protect their own economic interests rather than the public interest. Despite their massive communications infrastructure and the millions they spend defending their reputations, European public opinion does not consider the tech giants to be neutral and altruist.
A vote over the final text of the European Copyright Directive will take place during the March 25-28 plenary session of the European Parliament. Most informed stakeholders say the Copyright Directive has improved over the nearly 3-year legislative process; even Google has admitted that.
This text is about rebalancing economic relations between powerful platforms like YouTube, Facebook or Google News and the artists, press publishers and other creators whose content makes those platforms successful.
But the public debate around the Copyright Directive has turned bitter as the average Internet user is increasingly spooked by misleading buzzwords like ‘upload filters’ ‘link taxes’ and ‘censorship machines,’ terms made popular by opponents of the directive and amplified by the U.S. tech giants, who want to preserve the status quo.
Though Europeans are wary of the U.S. tech giants, their influence is clearly being felt as the Parliament prepares to vote on the final version of the Copyright Directive.
The poll was carried out in February, 2019, among a sample of 6600 people representative of the population aged 18 and over in France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Greece and Romania.
*i.e. large American Internet companies, such as Google, Facebook, etc.