“On 10 February 2020 the Australian Government directed the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into markets for the supply of digital platform services.
Digital platform services covered by this direction include internet search engine services, social media services, online private messaging services, digital content aggregation platform services, media referral services and electronic marketplace services. The direction also covers digital advertising services supplied by digital platform service providers and the data practices of both digital platform service providers and data brokers.”
The Ministerial direction is called “The Competition and Consumer (Price Inquiry—Digital Platforms) Direction 2020”, and requires the Australian Comission to “hold an inquiry into the markets for the supply of digital platform services.”
“Matters to be considered by the inquiry include:
- 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
- developments in markets for the supply of digital platform services outside Australia.”
The “digital inquisition”, as it has been called (Charles McConell at Global Competition Review), must be completed with a final report no later than 31 march, 2025.