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BREAKING NEWS: Feds Back ACCC Google, Facebook Facing Bans

The government has accepted the Digital Platforms Inquiry’s “overriding conclusion” that the media and advertising markets need reform but will run a 12 week public consultation before implementing any of the 23 recommendations in the report.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s final report, released today, has “wide-ranging implications across society and the economy”.

The report recommendations are in response to the sizeable market power held by digital platforms and their impact on competition in media and advertising markets, as well as the implications that has on media companies, advertisers and consumers.

Included in the recommendations are changes to merger law (including requiring companies to give advance notice to the ACCC ahead of any proposed acquisitions), reforms to Australian privacy law that would give consumers more power over the collection and storage of their data, and the ensuring of funding stability for public broadcasters and grants for regional and local journalism

The report also recommends a new specialist digital platform branch be established within the ACCC.

This branch would then hold an inquiry into competition for the supply of ad tech services and the supply of online advertising services by advertising and media agencies.

The establishment of an independent ombudsman to resolve complaints and disputes consumers and businesses have with digital platforms has also been recommended.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the recommendations were aimed at “futureproofing” regulations.

“Our recommendations are comprehensive and forward looking and deal with the many competition, consumer, privacy and news media issues we have identified throughout the course of this Inquiry,” Mr Sims said.

“They will provide the framework and the information that governments and communities will need to address further issues as they arise.”

The Digital Platforms Inquiry received more than 180 public submissions in the 18 months it ran.

The government plans to finalise its response to the report by the end of the year.

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