UK to launch “Digital Markets Unit” to curtail dominance of Facebook, Amazon and Google

Industry

Facebook, Amazon and Google will soon be forced to comply with strict new rules aimed at curtailing their market dominance in the UK.

The UK government is set to launch a new “Digital Markets Unit” (DMU) in April next year, part of the existing Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), designed to level the playing field for smaller rival businesses.

A code of conduct laid out by the new organisation will also be aimed at giving people more control over their data, forcing these tech giants to be more transparent about the services they provide  and given them a choice over whether to receive personalised advertising.

The DMU is expected to be handed wide ranging powers to enforce this code of conduct, including the ability to suspend, block and reverse companies’ decisions, while issuing fines to those who do not comply.

“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.

READ MORE: CMA seeking new powers to regulate tech giants as it “takes back control” after Brexit

“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.”

Business secretary Alok Sharma added said: “Digital platforms like Google and Facebook make a significant contribution to our economy and play a massive role in our day-to-day lives — whether it’s helping us stay in touch with our loved ones, share creative content or access the latest news.

“But the dominance of just a few big tech companies is leading to less innovation, higher advertising prices and less choice and control for consumers.”

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