The United Kingdom’s (UK) government has approved plans for a new and separate regulatory program which will oversee the big tech market which includes companies like Facebook and Google. The new competition unit will have the power to take action against any anti-competitive behavior from these big tech companies and corporations.
The new ‘Digital Markets Unit’ will be set up within Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and will begin to work in April. The regulatory unit will have the power to enforce a new code of conduct, in order to regulate the big tech companies and stop them from harming consumers and small businesses.
The UK government said that the competition unit will be granted powers to “suspend, block and reverse” decisions made by the tech giants and it can order them to take actions to comply with the new code of conduct. The unit can also impose financial penalties for non-compliance.
UK’s dedicated competition unit is part of its goal to create a fair market which will allow small businesses to prosper without getting hindered by the big tech companies having a monopoly over the market. The government’s plan to take the development of a new regulatory unit forward and establishing new code of conduct comes as a response to the recent study on digital advertising market by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The government said that some of the rules applied by the online platforms made it hard for news publishers to monetize their content. The new code will govern commercial arrangements between publishers and platforms to help keep publishers in business, According to the govt, this will help sustain high-quality online journalism and news publishing in the UK.
There is a growing consensus regarding the big tech companies having a monopoly over the market which they dominate. Companies like Facebook and Google have been accused in the past of killing competition by misusing their dominance.
The regulatory bodies around the world are trying to create new policies and give themselves new powers to protect smaller businesses and to promote pro-competitive behavior. The European Commission was the biggest antitrust regulator of the EU region, but UK’s new regulatory unit will take control of the country’s internal digital market once the country exits the European Union.
“I’m unashamedly pro-tech and the services of digital platforms are positively transforming the economy – bringing huge benefits to businesses, consumers and society,” Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said.
“But 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.”