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Competition Authority In The UK Proposes To Form Regulatory Regime To Govern Tech Platforms

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The Competition and Markets Authority, the UK's primary competition and consumer authority, has recommended the government to establish a pro-competition regulatory regime to govern the behaviour of major platforms funded by digital advertising, like Google and Facebook. Also, the CMA, working with the ICO and Ofcom, formally launched a Digital Markets Taskforce which will advise government on how a new regulatory regime for digital markets should be designed. The Taskforce will deliver advice to government by the end of 2020.

Through its market study, the CMA found that Google's prices are around 30% to 40% higher than Bing when comparing like-for-like search terms on desktop and mobile. The CMA has also found that newspapers are reliant on Google and Facebook for almost 40% of all visits to their sites. This dependency potentially squeezes their share of digital advertising revenues.

CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said: "Through our examination of this market, we have discovered how major online platforms like Google and Facebook operate and how they use digital advertising to fuel their business models. What we have found is concerning - if the market power of these firms goes unchecked, people and businesses will lose out."

The CMA has proposed to restrict Google's ability to secure its place as the default search engine on mobile devices and browsers. The Authority wants Google to open up its click and query data to rival search engines to allow them to improve their algorithms so they can properly compete.

The CMA also recommended to order Facebook to give consumers a choice over whether to receive personalised advertising. The Authority wants Facebook to increase its interoperability with competing social media platforms.

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