United Kingdom: London launches code of conduct targeting Google and Facebook



The Gafa in the viewfinder. The British government announced Friday, November 27 a series of measures to limit the power of digital giants like Facebook and Google, whether in the use of personal data or online advertising.

A new code of conduct, under the aegis of a new “digital markets unit” (Digital Markets Units) will be set up to improve competition and better protect consumers, according to a press release from the Ministry of Business and that of Digital.

The government has decided to follow the proposals made in July by the British competition gendarme, which will house this new unit, and who was worried about the domination of the American giants. “Our new pro-competition regime for digital markets will ensure that consumers have choice and that smaller businesses are not left out.”, assures Alok Sharma, Minister for Enterprises.

London recognizes the benefits of these platforms but points to “the concentration of power between a small number of digital companies”, which slows the growth of the sector, reduces innovation and can have negative effects on society. The new code may force platforms to be more transparent in the services provided and in the way they use personal data. Consumers will be able to choose whether or not to receive personalized advertising online.

The Digital Markets Unit will launch in April and will be able to force digital giants to change their practice if necessary, and will have the ability to impose fines for non-compliance. Finally, this code will be a means to guarantee fairer commercial contracts between the digital giants and the press.

The government wants to prevent platforms from using their dominant position to impose unfavorable financial terms on newspaper titles, especially new entrants, which limits their ability to monetize their income.

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