Digital platform services inquiry 2020-2025

Project overview

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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.

The ACCC must provide the Treasurer with an interim report on the inquiry by 30 September 2020 and then further interim reports every six months until the inquiry concludes with a final report to be provided to the Treasurer by 31 March 2025.

Scope of inquiry

Matters to be considered by the inquiry include:

  • the intensity of competition in markets for the supply of digital platform services, with particular regard to the concentration of power, the behaviour of suppliers, mergers and acquisitions, barriers to entry or expansion and changes in the range of services offered by suppliers of digital platform services
  • practices of suppliers in digital platform services markets which may result in consumer harm
  • market trends that may affect the nature and characteristics of digital platform services
  • developments in markets for the supply of digital platform services outside Australia.

Further details of the matters to be considered in the inquiry are provided in the Ministerial direction.

Updates

On 11 March 2021, the ACCC published an issues paper on market dynamics and consumer choice screens in search services and web browsers, which is the focus of the Digital Platform Services Inquiry’s third interim report. Public versions of the submissions received have been published. This report is due to be provided to the Treasurer by 30 September 2021.

On 22 August 2021, the ACCC published an issues paper on general online retail marketplaces, which is the focus of the Digital Platform Services Inquiry’s fourth interim report. The ACCC also released two short surveys, inviting views from consumers and small business sellers. Submissions to the issues paper, and responses to the surveys, were due by 19 August 2021. The fourth interim report is due to be provided to the Treasurer by 31 March 2022.

On 28 September 2021, the ACCC published information on the focus of the Digital Platform Services Inquiry’s fifth interim report

Timeline

Stages Date

Contact

Companies that would like to share their experience in these markets can email the ACCC at digitalmonitoring@accc.gov.au.

Other inquiries

The ACCC is conducting an 18-month inquiry into markets for the supply of digital advertising technology services and digital advertising agency services.

See: Digital advertising services inquiry

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