The GDPR is already harming small businesses, says Reuters.

And it is the big technology companies that are reaping the rewards.

According to the news agency Reuters, the negative impacts of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are already being felt, with small companies at the receiving end and the tech giants benefitting. The reason is simple: small companies do not have the capacity to implement the rules and ensure they remain in business.

The GDPR came into force in May this year to protect users’ personal data. It mandates that companies and websites which collect and use this data must seek users’ prior consent.

Amongst many other things, this data allows companies to profile their users and to adapt advertising to their preferences. However, the GDPR has made everything more complicated as without consent the data can no longer be used for commercial purposes.

According to Reuters, it is difficult for smaller companies to check whether all the links on their partner websites comply with the directives of the legislation.

This uncertainty and the fear of large fines is often leading to a move away from the EU market. However, for Facebook and Google it has been quite easy to adapt to the new rules and consolidate their dominant position in the global market for digital advertising, currently said to be worth $200m.

Nevertheless, their results have not been all good. Since the GDPR came into force, Facebook has already lost around a million active users in Europe every month. Precisely to avoid problems of non-compliance with the rules, Facebook and Google now demand that all those who use their advertising tools must ensure that the user profiles they collect through other digital advertising companies are obtained with users’ express consent.