The ACCC is currently prioritising competition and consumer issues relating to digital platforms.
The ACCC has set up a specialist Digital Platforms Branch to conduct further work related to digital platform markets. The Digital Platforms Branch will continue the ACCC’s consistent scrutiny of digital platforms, including relevant inquiries and current and future consumer and competition law enforcement cases.
On 4 December 2017, the then Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, directed the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into digital platforms. The inquiry looked at the effect that digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content aggregation platforms have on competition in media and advertising services markets. In particular, the inquiry looked at the impact of digital platforms on the supply of news and journalistic content and the implications of this for media content creators, advertisers and consumers.
On 10 December 2018, the ACCC released its preliminary report for the inquiry.
The final report was published on 26 July 2019 following the report being provided to the Treasurer.
The Australian Government responded to the recommendations of the final report on 12 December 2019.
More information on this government response can be found on the Department of the Treasury website.
On 10 February 2020 the Australian Government directed the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into markets for the supply of digital advertising technology services and digital advertising agency services.
On 10 February 2020 the Australian Government directed the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into markets for the supply of digital platform services.
Digital platform services covered by this direction include internet search engine services, social media services, online private messaging services, digital content aggregation platform services, media referral services and electronic marketplace services. The direction also covers digital advertising services supplied by digital platform service providers and the data practices of both digital platform service providers and data brokers.
On 20 April 2020, the Australian Government announced it had directed the ACCC to develop a mandatory code of conduct to address bargaining power imbalances between Australian news media businesses and each of Google and Facebook.
The announcement is available on the Department of the Treasury website.
The government has asked that a draft mandatory code be released for public consultation before the end of July 2020, with a final code to be settled soon thereafter.