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Global Watchdogs Applaud ACCC IT Giant Crackdown

Global competition regulators have welcomed Australia’s global lead in cracking down on Facebook and Google over their stronghold on advertising and misuse of people’s data.

A meeting in New York of around 30 heads of competition and antitrust agencies from all parts of the world discussed the landmark report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which has recommended ways to rein in the dominance of US tech giants.

In a world first, the ACCC’s 619-page Digital Platforms Inquiry report from July proposed a range of competition, consumer and privacy protections to tackle the dominance of tech giants like Facebook and Google, including their distortion of the advertising market at the expense of the media and other industries.

ACCC chief Rod Sims said the heads of other competition agencies welcomed the report’s findings and the fact that the ACCC took a broader approach to the issue beyond narrow antitrust laws to take on the tech companies.

“The broad approach we took was very welcomed because, even if they were going to focus on stricter antitrust (laws), seeing it in the whole like that was helpful and I didn’t get any suggestion that we were going out too far,” Sims told The Australian after the meeting.

However, an industry body, Digital Industry Group (DIGI), which represents the interests of digital giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter in Australia, has slammed Sims, claiming his final report is lacking in “substantive analysis” and makes “no more than a passing acknowledgment” of the contribution digital products make.

DIGI claims recommendations that further restrict the ability of large tech companies to merge and acquire smaller players are concerning, and there is a lack of adequate evidence or analysis.

“It is disappointing to see this recommendation was retained in the final report, with a slight expansion of scope, without addressing the concerns raised by many in the technology industry, which has been attacked in a large parts by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s final report into digital platforms,” DIGI said.

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