United Kingdom establishes separate regulator for Facebook and Google

The British market regulator Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will have a separate department in 2021 to monitor whether Facebook and Google are displacing smaller competitors, which could ultimately hurt consumers.

According to the CMA, Facebook and Google last year brought in about 80 percent of the revenue of the entire digital advertising market. Due to concerns about the size of their role, the new department will have to monitor how companies are behaving from April.

Facebook and Google have said they want to work with the British government and the regulator. The companies point to options to give users of their platforms more control over the use of their data and the advertisements based on it.

Facebook not only owns the social network of the same name, but also Instagram and WhatsApp, among others. Google offers a search engine, but also owns YouTube and various online services, such as a map and navigation service.

The British government states that companies must be transparent about the use of customer data. It must also be made clear which obstacles the groups are putting up to the use of competing platforms.

With their great market power, Facebook and Google are at odds with the industry. Although having a large market share is not necessarily a problem from a legal point of view, there are concerns about the loss of advertising revenues at other companies that (partly) depend on it, such as news media.

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