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Australia: ACCC’s Sims speaks at CPI conference

 |  April 30, 2019

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims expressed his concern that Facebook and Google are responsible for the content they publish, at a CPI conference at Melbourne Law School  Tuesday.

“They have created this machine … I don’t think you can absolve yourself of responsibility for what happens on the platforms … I find that extraordinary and totally unacceptable.” Sims said.

Bank of England deputy governor Philip Marsden, who sat on the UK’s recent digital platform review, also backed calls for a dedicated regulator to limit the power of the digital giants,  reported Patrick Durkin from the Australian Financial Review.

Professor Marsden also urged competition experts to overcome their resistance to the creation of a bespoke regulatory regime for the tech giants at the conference.

“There is no way it is not going to happen; we are riding a wave of digital regulation,” Professor Marsden told the conference.

Sims defended criticism over Facebook buying Instagram for $US1 billion ($1.4 billion) in 2012, saying that regulators still needed to rely on the evidence.

But said more needed to be done to protect against further consolidation by the tech giants, despite critic Mr Manne claiming that “a presumption against any vertical integration is front and centre in the ACCC report”,.

“It is merger control, not merger clearance,” Professor Marsden said.

“You may think calling for all tech mergers to be banned is ludicrous but those calls are being made, so it would be dangerous to ignore them – we can’t just say there is nothing to see here,” he said.