Britain’s regulators take aim and Google and Facebook’s ad monopolies

It's not yet known when action will be taken.


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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Britain’s competition regulator and watchdog, said that there is a strong ongoing argument to impose tougher regulations on big tech firms Google and Facebook in an effort to restrain any potential negative consequences arising from their market dominance in the realm of online advertising.

“Most of us visit social media sites and search on the internet every day, but how these firms work can be a mystery. Digital advertising fuels big businesses like Google and Facebook and we have been building a picture of how this complex new market works,” said Andrea Coscelli, the Chief Executive of CMA to Reuters.

According to the CMA, search engine giant Google took the lion’s share of 90% in search advertising revenue in the UK back in 2018. What’s more, Facebook pocketed a revenue of a whopping six billion pounds ($7.84 million, accounting for nearly half the display advertising in 2018.

The CMA said that big tech firms were not necessarily wrongdoers owing to their huge market dominance – but then it said that there was a need to be vigilant as there might be potential negative consequences for the people utilizing the advertising services offered by big tech firms.

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Earlier this year, the CMA launched a probe into digital advertising as well as the ownership of data to understand how the firms collected and processed user data and the means of monetizing such data.

Furthermore, the CMA aims to better understand the implications of data collection and monetization, both for the users as well as businesses utilizing the services.

The CMA stated that it is open to comments on its findings and that it will advise the Britain government about its plans to regulate the digital advertising sector.

Both Google and Facebook said that they were keen on working with the CMA actively. A Facebook spokesperson highlighted the option to turn off advertisements from a particular advertiser in the social media platform and said that Facebook agrees “with the CMA that people should have control over their data and transparency around how it is used.”

Ireland Ronan Harris, Google’s VP for UK and Ireland said that search engine offers “easy-to-use controls that enable people to manage their data in Google’s services— such as the ability to turn off personalized advertising and to automatically delete their search history.”


Naga Pramod

Naga Pramod is a computer science major and tech news reporter with a passion for cyber security, networking, and data science. [email protected]