Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Australias consumer watchdog calls for new laws to stop scams and rein in anti-competitive behaviour online

Australias consumer watchdog calls for new laws to stop scams and rein in anti-competitive behaviour online


Australias consumer watchdog calls for new laws to stop scams and rein in anti-competitive behaviour online

Australia's competition regulator has run out of patience with digital platforms such as Google and Facebook and has recommended new laws to clamp down on scams, address consumer complaints and rein in anti-competitive behaviour.

Releasing its fifth progress report on digital platforms since it began an inquiry in 2017, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has called for industry-specific legislation, saying it has identified "widespread, entrenched and systematic" consumer and competition "harms".

It also wanted digital platforms to be required to provide user-friendly processes for alerting to scams, noting losses reported to Scamwatch from schemes on social networking and mobile apps almost doubled to $92m in 2021.

Google and Facebook have attempted to address competition concerns held by Australian media companies, who objected to the tech giants using their output without paying for it. Agreements have led to millions flowing back to local newsrooms.

But other competition concerns remain, including the way digital platforms preference their own services (particularly in advertising), use data they collect and tie customers to their services.

It comes as Twitter, which has been bought by billionaire Elon Musk, said it would lay off half its staff, including Australian employees, many of whom are involved in moderation.

In its latest six-monthly report, the ACCC said it had "identified concerning consumer and competition harms across a range of digital platform services that are widespread, entrenched, and systemic".

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