Japan cracks down on tech giants and social media scams with new legislation

Japan enacted tougher measures to fine tech giants for limiting third-party access, mirroring the EU’s Digital Markets Act; meanwhile, scrutiny intensifies on Meta for failing to address online scams, with calls for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify.

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Japan’s cabinet has approved a legislative proposal to curb the dominance of tech giants like Google and Apple by imposing major fines on those that restrict third-party access to smartphone apps and payment systems. This initiative mirrors the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) and targets anti-competitive behaviour, threatening fines of up to 20% of their revenues.

According to government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi, this regulation is crucial for maintaining a competitive digital environment internationally and fostering innovation and consumer choice in software necessary for smartphone usage.

Concurrently, the Japanese government is escalating efforts to regulate social media platforms like Meta, addressing the surge in online scams that exploit celebrity images. The local unit of Meta has been criticised for its inadequate response to online scams that exploit celebrity images to commit fraud. Former Digital Transformation Minister Takuya Hirai has suggested that the Japanese Diet might summon Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify. He criticised Meta for being the ‘most non-compliant platform owner’ and highlighted the company’s insufficient efforts in combating these fraudulent activities.

Why does it matter?

Meanwhile, the Japanese government is intensifying its oversight of large US tech firms, with the Liberal Democratic Party working on policy options to better regulate these companies. The initiative is part of a broader global effort by regulators to control the influence of major tech corporations, as evidenced by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission’s antitrust actions against Google and recent legislative measures endorsed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to curb anti-competitive practices in the tech industry.