The U.K.’s antitrust watchdog is on the cusp of new authority to crack down on tech giants.
These changes, touched on Tuesday (Nov. 7) in King Charles III’s first speech to Parliament, are designed to help the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) make sure companies like Meta and Google conduct business fairly.
“My ministers will introduce new legal frameworks to support the safe commercial development of emerging industries, such as self-driving vehicles, introduce new competition rules for digital markets, and encourage innovation in technologies such as machine learning,” the king said.
The British government introduced the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill in April follow some lengthy delays.
The legislation, similar to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, gives additional authority to the CMA to monitor the conduct and market dominance of major tech companies, and to establish further consumer protection measures.
“From abuse of power by tech giants to fake reviews, scams and rip-offs like being caught in a subscription trap — consumers deserve better,” Business and Trade Minister Kevin Hollinrake said in a statement.
He added, “The new laws we’re delivering today will empower the CMA to directly enforce consumer law, strengthen competition in digital markets and ensure that people across the country keep hold of their hard-earned cash.”
The news comes four days after the CMA scored a regulatory victory in getting Meta to make commitments to not use its advertising customers’ data.
These commitments are designed to safeguard businesses and consumers from any unfair competitive advantage that Meta may have, which could distort competition in the market, the CMA said last week.
“We welcome the CMA’s decision to close its investigation into Marketplace on the basis of the commitments offered by Meta to put in place systems and controls designed to confirm and validate that advertiser data from competitors is not used in Marketplace,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement to PYMNTS.
“We also welcome the CMA’s confirmation that it found no concerns with respect to the use of advertiser data in Facebook Dating.”
The CMA began an investigation in June 2021 to find out whether Meta had garnered an unfair edge over its competitors by gathering and using certain advertising data. Meta has a substantial pull in the ad sector as the largest supplier of digital display advertising in the U.K.