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UK MPs Urge Regulator To Curb Big Tech

 |  October 30, 2022

Big tech firms should face tougher penalties for abusing their market power, a committee of MPs has said.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has urged the government to publish legislation that could allow firms to be fined up to 10% of global annual income for abuses.

MPs say the draft Digital Markets Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech in May, should be published “without delay”.

Until this legislation is passed, consumers are at risk, they say. The committee argues that existing fines have been viewed as just “a small business cost” by the big technology businesses.

The government has previously said that existing tools to regulate competition are not suitable to deal with the “entrenched market power held by a small number of digital firms”.

It proposed the creation of a digital markets unit (DMU) within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The new bill would give that unit powers to tackle anti-competitive behaviour by tech giants and protect consumer rights.

The CMA welcomed the report and told the BBC it would “carefully consider and respond to the committee’s recommendations in due course”. The authority recently required Facebook owner Meta to sell animated-image platform Giphy, shortly after it acquired it.

The ruling was the first time the UK regulator had blocked an acquisition by a tech giant, and was seen as signalling a new determination to scrutinise big digital deals.