Public Knowledge: Digital Market Needs New Government Minder

Public Knowledge said that there needs to be "aggressive antitrust enforcement" of digital markets dominated by companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon, but that more is needed. 

Gene Kimmelman

Gene Kimmelman

In testimony for a hearing in the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee on "Competition in Digital Technology Markets: Examining Self-Preferencing by Digital Platforms," Public Knowledge senior advisor Gene Kimmelman said that there is a need for new, pro-competitive regulations, and a separate regulatory agency. 

"By establishing an Agency designed to promote market entry and expansion, Congress could expand competition that will spur innovation and benefit consumers, "Kimmelman said in prepared testimony. 

Kimmelman pointed out that the UK's Competition and Markets Authority interim reports on digital ad markets found that Google has significant market power in search and advertising--no big news there--and that Facebook has similar power over social networking. Again, not a surprise. But Kimmelman said it should "set off alarm bells that we need to assess what antitrust can do, how it needs to change, and which other policy tools are needed to generate robust competition in our exploding digital marketplace."

The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are both investigating the digital marketplace with an eye toward whether antitrust enforcement has gaps when it comes to how edge providers become powerhouses in their relevant markets. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.