A watchdog designed to prevent tech giants including Facebook and Google from exploiting their market dominance was introduced in the UK, a move positioned as a major milestone for online market reform.
The Digital Markets Unit (DMU) is based within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), tasked with developing plans to give consumers more choice and control over their data, promote online competition and crackdown on unfair practices.
Plans for the unit were unveiled in November 2020 as part of a wider UK government aim to enforce a new pro-competition regime covering platforms deemed to hold considerable market power.
The DMU is already exploring how codes of conduct could work in practice to govern the relationship between digital platforms and groups including small businesses, which rely on them to advertise or use their services.
Its overall aim is to promote competition and the DMU will work with Ofcom to develop guidelines to govern the relationship between online platforms and news publishers, ensuring a fair and reasonable policy.
UK digital secretary Oliver Dowden stated this would “pave the way for the development of new digital services and lower prices”, give consumers more control over their data and support the news industry.
Longer term, the unit is also to work closely with CMA enforcement teams on moves already underway to address practices by digital companies, including “taking enforcement action against Google and Apple and scrutinising mergers involving Facebook and eBay”.
As countries around the world grapple with unfair tech practices, the unit will also coordinate with international partners.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back