UK’s Competition and Markets Authority Calls for Greater Regulation of Digital Marketplace

On July 1, the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released its final market study report on online platforms and digital advertising. The study, launched in July 2019, focused on Google and Facebook’s dominance of the digital advertising marketplace. The findings and recommendations in the final report follow closely those identified in the CMA’s interim report published last December. The report’s findings highlight, among other things, the competitive advantage Google and Facebook enjoy due to their extensive access to user data; how the online platforms interpret data protection laws and regulations to benefit them; and concerns arising from vertical integration in the digital ad markets. In order to address the concerns identified in the report, the CMA recommends the establishment of a Digital Markets Unit with powers to develop, oversee, and enforce a code of conduct and to take other necessary actions, including data-related interventions. The report also raises the prospect of separation interventions to address vertical integration concerns. While the CMA refuses to launch a full market investigation into the digital ad markets, the report indicates that it is considering possible enforcement actions. The report also discusses the Digital Markets Taskforce, designed to advise the government on digital competition issues, that CMA will be leading. Read the full report here.

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