Facebook paid HUF 3.8 billion in advertising tax to the Hungarian budget – Justice Minister Judit Varga announced.
“Many have said that this is impossible, technology companies will not follow Hungarian rules. From now on, however, we can rightly assume that tech companies are also committed to operating legally.” – said the minister.
Judit Varga presumably reflected on critical voices that said it would be impossible to regulate Facebook or several major social sites locally. Hungary is expected to present a comprehensive regulation on the community side in the spring, with which they want to take action against censorship in particular.
Mark Zuckerberg said in 2020 to BBC, that he accepts tech giants may have to pay more tax in Europe in the future and recognize people’s “frustration” over the issue. He also said he backed plans by think tank the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to find a global solution. Facebook and other platforms have been accused of not paying their fair share of tax in countries where they operate. But some say the OECD is moving too slowly towards its goal of a deal.
In 2019 Hungary’s competition watchdog handed Facebook Inc. a 1.2 billion forint ($4 million) fine for claiming its services were free. Facebook made a profit from utilizing users’ online activity and data, which served as “payment” for the services, the Budapest-based authority said in an emailed statement. Claiming the website was free may have misled users regarding the value of the data they were giving the technology firm, it said.
Justice Minister Judit Varga recently announced that Hungary would regulate the operation of large technology companies by law, so to speak, “to protect people.” As she wrote: “After all, anyone can now be arbitrarily disconnected from the online space without any formal, transparent, fair procedure and without the possibility of redress.”
Judit Varga emphasized that they would continue to be involved in the preparation of similar regulations in the European Union.