Australian consumer and competition watchdog calls for measures to control the dominance of tech giants

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has called for reforms to address the online dominance of tech giants, such as Google and Facebook. The ACCC conducted an inquiry to consider the impact of online search engines, social media and digital content aggregators on competition in the media and advertising services. The Commission released a 600-page report making 23 recommendations for regulating digital platforms, covering competition law, consumer protection, media regulation, and privacy. Changes were recommended to Australia’s merger law, expressly requiring consideration of the effect of mergers on competition, and to consider the importance of the concentration of data. ACCC’s recommends put special emphasis on consumer law, seeking to  address the inequalities in bargaining power between digital platforms and consumers when it comes to terms of use. The implementation of the measures would involve other branches of the government, such as the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which would be expected to monitor digital platforms’ approach to assessing the trustworthiness of news, and manage a mandatory take-down code for content that breaches copyright, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, which is called upon to develop a code to regulate platforms’ use of data.