UK to launch new rules to limit tech giant’s dominance

27 Nov 2020

Britain is imposing new rules in 2021 with the aim of preventing big tech firms Facebook and Google from exploiting their dominance of the market.

According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the two companies accounted for approximately 80% of the $18.7bn (£14bn) spent on online advertising last year.

The new rules set to come into play will grant consumers greater control over their data, BBC reports.

It will also "help small businesses thrive, and ensure news outlets are not forced out by bigger rivals," says the government.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement: "There is growing consensus in the UK and abroad 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.

"It's time to address that and unleash a new age of tech growth."

The new regulations will establish transparent expectations for the most dominant firms as regard to what is acceptable behaviour when interacting with competitions and users.

These companies will be required to offer consumers a choice whether to receive personalised advertising, and will not be permitted to place restrictions on customers to impede them from using rival platforms.

The new regulations will be enforced by a dedicated division within the Competition and Markets Authority.

The Digital Markets Unit may be granted the power to suspend, block and reverse decisions made by tech firms, and also enforce financial penalties for non-compliance.
According to Business Secretary Alok Sharma: “Digital platforms like Google and Facebook make a significant contribution to our economy and play a massive role in our day-to-day lives - whether it’s helping us stay in touch with our loved ones, share creative content or access the latest news.
“But the dominance of just a few big tech companies is leading to less innovation, higher advertising prices and less choice and control for consumers.
“Our new, pro-competition regime for digital markets will ensure consumers have choice, and mean smaller firms aren’t pushed out,” he continued.