An investigation against Apple, Alphabet (parent of Google) and Meta has been launched by European Union regulatory authorities. This is the first investigation by the Commission within the framework of the landmark law that came into force on March 7, the aim of which is to put a brake on any uncontrolled movements of the technological giants.

“Today, the Commission launched Digital Markets Act (DMA) noncompliance investigations that will focus on Alphabet’s Google Play and Google search rules, Apple’s App Store rules and Safari selection, and in Meta’s ‘pay or consent’ model,” the Commission said in a statement.

According to the DMA, tech companies are not allowed to prevent businesses from informing their users about cheaper options for their products or subscriptions outside of their own “app store”.

The new law requires the six “gatekeepers” – which provide services such as search engines, social networks and chat apps – to comply with the guidelines to ensure a level playing field for their competitors and offer users more choice.

Fines that could be imposed on tech giants if found to be non-compliant with the DMA could reach up to 10% of their global annual turnover.

The European Commission has stated that it suspects that the rules put in place by these “gatekeepers” fall short of effective compliance with the law.

“The law is the law. We can’t just sit and wait,” Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told a press conference.

At the same time, he noted that Meta, which adopted an ad-free subscription service in Europe last November that drew criticism from competitors and users, should offer free alternatives. Google and Apple have also implemented new fees for some of their services.

According to Reuters, a Meta spokesperson said the company is trying to comply with the DMA’s guidelines. “Subscriptions as an alternative to advertising are a common business practice in many industries and we designed ‘Subscription for No Ads’ to comply with regulatory guidelines, including those of the DMA,” said a Meta spokesperson.

Google, for its part, said it has made significant changes to its services, stressing that it will defend its practice in the coming months. Convinced that it complies with the rules of the DMA, Apple also said.