Masterclassing Connect

Tech giants face new UK regulator

Gabby Fernie

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Dominant platforms such as Google, Facebook and Amazon will soon be subject to a pro-competition regime, set up by the Government. 

The Digital Markets Unit (DMU) will first look to create a new statutory code of conduct, meaning consumers will be given more choice and control over how their data is used. 

The code will also help smaller businesses thrive, by being better able to promote their products online, and ensure news outlets are not pushed out by their bigger rivals. 

The new unit, planned to begin work in April, could be given powers to suspend, block and reverse decisions of tech giants, order them to take certain actions to achieve compliance with the code, and impose financial penalties for non-compliance.

When the Government first announced plans for the DMU back in November, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowen described himself as "unashamedly pro-tech" and praised the services of large digital platforms for transforming the ecomony, but added: "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."

The move will likely be welcomed by the digital marketing industry, most of whose players resent the excessive power wielded and market share enjoyed by Facebook, Google, and more recently, Amazon.