Digital Platforms Inquiry(report) – ACCC (Australia)

“Digital platforms offer innovative and popular services to consumers that have, in many cases, revolutionised the way consumers communicate with each other, access news and information and interact with business. Many of the services offered by digital platforms provide significant benefits to both consumers and business; as demonstrated by their widespread and frequent use by many Australians and many Australian businesses.

The ACCC considers, however, that we are at a critical point in considering the impact of digital platforms on society. While the ACCC recognises their significant benefits to consumers and businesses, there are important questions to be asked about the role the global digital platforms play in the supply of news and journalism in Australia, what responsibility they should hold as gateways to information and business, and the extent to which they should be accountable for their influence.

In particular, this report identifies concerns with the ability and incentive of key digital platforms to favour their own business interests, through their market power and presence across multiple markets, the digital platforms’ impact on the ability of content creators to monetise their content, and the lack of transparency in digital platforms’ operations for advertisers, media businesses and consumers. Consumers’ awareness and understanding of the extensive amount of information about them collected by digital platforms, and their concerns regarding the privacy of their data, are also critical issues. There are also issues with the role of digital platforms in determining what news and information is accessed by Australians, how this information is provided, and its range and reliability.

Digital platforms are having a profound impact on Australian news media and advertising. The impact of digital platforms on the supply of news and journalism is particularly significant. News and journalism generate broad benefits for society through the production and dissemination of knowledge, the exposure of corruption, and holding governments and other decision makers to account. It is important that governments and the public are aware of, and understand, the implications of the operation of these digital platforms, their business models and their market power.” Excerpt from the report Digital Platforms Inquiry


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