Britain’s new regulator for tech giants Facebook and Google, launches on Wednesday with an initial remit to see if a code of conduct could improve the balance of power between the platforms and news publishers. The Digital Markets Unit (DMU), based in the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has been set up to stop big tech companies abusing their market dominance after the competition regulator said existing rules were not enough. The power and reach of big tech has grown faster than governments’ ability to keep them in check.
A row, now resolved, between Facebook and the Australian government in February over payment for local news highlighted the disparity. The tech company blacked out news content in response to planned legislation, a move condemned by publishers and politicians in multiple countries. Britain’s Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said he had asked the DMU to look at how a code could govern the relationships between platforms and content providers, such as news publishers, to ensure they were as fair and reasonable as possible.