Data as a key digital asset

Australia: Regulation of internet intermediaries & online platforms

Latest Developments

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently undertaking a 5-year inquiry into digital platform services, examining:

  • The intensity of competition in markets for the supply of digital platform services, with particular regard to the concentration of power, the behaviour of suppliers, mergers and acquisitions, barriers to entry or expansion and changes in the range of services offered by suppliers of digital platform services;
  • Practices of suppliers in digital platform services markets which may result in consumer harm;
  • Market trends that may affect the nature and characteristics of digital platform services; and
  • Developments in markets for the supply of digital platform services outside Australia.

Interim reports released as part of this inquiry to date have covered:

  • Competition and consumer issues associated with the distribution of mobile apps to users of smartphones and other mobile devices, focussing in particular on app marketplaces;
  • Competition and consumer issues in relation to search and social media platforms and online private messaging services in Australia;
  • Market dynamics and consumer choice screens in search services and web browsers; and
  • Stronger consumer protections regarding certain digital platforms, including improved dispute resolution processes and an independent ombudsman.

How could it be relevant for you?

The ACCC’s previous and similar inquiry, the Digital Platforms Inquiry (concluded in July 2019) resulted in the extensive reform process currently underway in respect of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) (referred to in chapter 4). It is expected that suppliers of digital platform services will be similarly affected by reforms arising out of the ACCC’s eventual recommendations, although it is too early to determine what these may be.

Next steps

The final report of the digital platform services inquiry is not due to be handed down until 31 March 2025.

*Information is accurate up to 27 November 2023

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