Facebook and Google to face tougher competition rules in the UK

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Google and Facebook will have to abide by new competition rules from next year in the UK. This is aimed at curtailing the dominance of the two tech giants and to the advantage of smaller firms.

The code which is expected to come into effect by 2021, will be enforced by a dedicated unit within the Competition and Markets Authority [CMA], Aljazeera reports. The CMA, which seeks to checkmate the dominance of bigger firms over the smaller ones, is set to announce detailed plans this December.

The CMA said both Google and Facebook account for approximately 80 percent of the 14 billion pounds [$18.7 billion] spent in 2019. This is not unexpected considering the fact that they both dominate digital advertising.

In their response, Google and Facebook said they are committed to working with the British government and regulator on digital advertising. They also said they are committed to giving users more control over their data and the ads they are served.

UK digital secretary Oliver Dowden said there was a growing consensus that the concentration of power in a small number of firms was slowing down growth thereby reducing innovation and adversely affecting the people and businesses that rely on them. “It’s time to address that and unleash a new age of tech growth,” Dowden said per Aljazeera.

Only through a new pro-competition regulatory regime can we tackle the market power of tech giants like Facebook and Google and ensure that businesses and consumers are protected,” Andrea Coscelli, chief of the CMA, said.

The new CMA unit will among other things be able to impose financial penalties for non-compliance, suspend, and reverse decision made by tech companies. The unit is set to formally begin its work by April 2021.

Google is facing a new case in the smart TV market in India. Last month, Reuters reported that there are allegations of serious abuse of dominance in the smart TV market. The tech giant has allegedly abused its Android OS’ position in the smart TV market, citing a source and two lawyers involved in the case.

The Competition Commission of India, according to Reuters, has been looking into allegations of Google engaging in anti-competitive practices since June. The source says the company has been creating hurdles for firms wanting to use or develop modified versions of Android for smart TVs. 

The case was filed by Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand, two antitrust lawyers. Both lawyers, though, declined to make further comments other than confirming that a case has been filed against Google for alleged abuse in the smart TV market.

The source said the Competition Commission of India has directed Google to submit its response to the allegation in writing. The company, however, has asked for more time to do so.

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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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