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ACCC releases fifth Digital Platforms Services Inquiry

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its fifth report in its Digital Platforms Services Inquiry. The report concerns competition and consumer issues identified throughout the Digital Platforms Services Inquiry and recommends regulation of digital platforms to address competition and consumer concerns in emerging digital markets.

The ACCC has identified significant competition and consumer harm in the use of digital platform services. This includes financial loss, unresolved disputes, limited consumer choice, limited decision making, stifled innovation, and higher prices. As such, to protect consumers and small businesses, the ACCC has recommended new targeted requirements on digital platforms to:

  • provide user-friendly processes for reporting scams, harmful apps, and fake reviews, and to respond to such reports
  • verify certain business users (eg. advertisers, app developers and merchants)
  • publish review verification processes
  • report on scams, harmful apps and fake reviews on their services, and measures taken to address them
  • meet minimum internal dispute resolution standards

Additionally, the ACCC is pushing for a new regulatory regime to promote competition in digital platform services. This would include introducing measures that work alongside existing competition laws to monitor developments in dynamic digital platform markets. The new regulatory regime would particularly address anti-competitive conduct, unfair treatment of business users, and lowering barriers to entry for upcoming digital platform markets. These obligations would apply to digital platforms providing search, social media, online private messaging, app stores, online retail marketplaces and digital advertising services.

For a full reading of the report, see here.

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