Britain To Curb Google And Facebook With Tougher Competition Rules

Britain To Curb Google And Facebook With Tougher Competition Rules”

While "unashamedly pro-tech", Britain's Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said there was a growing consensus that the concentration of power in a small number of companies was curtailing growth, reducing innovation and having negative impacts on the people and businesses that rely on them.

The UK will get a new tech watchdog next year in an effort to stop giants like Google and Facebook from riding roughshod over consumers and small businesses.

The U.K. government approved plans for a separate regulatory program for companies including Facebook Inc. and Google, saying the new competition unit would be given powers to impose fines to rein in the dominance of the largest tech companies.

"But there is growing consensus in the United Kingdom and overseas that the concentration of power among a small number of tech companies is curtailing growth of the sector, reducing innovation and having negative impacts on the people and businesses that rely on them".

Its enforcement means that platforms including those funded by digital advertising have to be more transparent about the services they offer and how they are using consumers' data.

The creation of the DMU, which will co-ordinate with other regulatory bodies Ofcom and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), coincides with Britain leaving the European Union regulatory regime and also a wider attempted crackdown on the power of the internet giants in many countries.

Consumers will be able to choose whether to see personalized advertising, the government said.

More news: COVID-19 daily cases hit record of more than 200,000

The new code will also oversee commercial arrangements between publishers and platforms.

Facebook is preparing to launch its Facebook News service in the United Kingdom, which works with news media and includes original reporting.

Facebook said it remains "committed to working with our United Kingdom industry partners to find ways to support journalism and help the long-term sustainability of news organisations". A CMA market study concluded that Google has significant market power in the general search market and in search advertising, and that Facebook has significant market power in the social media market and in display advertising.

Following EU legislation, Google has already signed similar agreements with French newspapers.

According to the CMA, a year ago around 80 percent of the £14 billion ($18.7 billion, 15.7 billion euros) spent in Britain on digital advertising went to Google and Facebook.

Big tech companies, including Google and Facebook, have been facing intense scrutiny in many countries over issues such as abuse of their market power and their handling of users' data.

The British unit will become part of the existing UK Competition and Markets Authority, which said in July that the existing laws were not effective and a new regulatory regime was needed to control internet giants.

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