The ACCC’s Digital Platform Inquiry and the Implications for your Business

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has made 23 recommendations in its final report of its Digital Platforms Inquiry into Google and Facebook.

We’ve put in the hard yards for you and provided a snapshot of the Inquiry’s findings and recommendations and the potential impact to your business. If you do want to read the whole 623-page report then you can find it at

The recommendations respond to the effective duopoly of Google and Facebook in Australia; their impact on competition in media and advertising and the implications of their phenomenal market power on media and news agencies, advertisers and consumers.
The ACCC also recommends the creation of a framework of control and accountability over the digital platforms, including strengthening of the Privacy Act and giving Australians greater control over how their information is collected and used.

Data regulation crack downs are occurring globally

Europe is leading the way in reforming the way that personal data can be used. In May, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) made the following sweeping reforms;
• Companies cannot send emails to non-customers unless they have given explicit consent to receive these emails
• Companies with marketing databases are required to retrospectively gain consent from non-customers –diminishing databases by up to 80%
• Companies are no longer able to purchase database lists from third party sources

As the Australian Federal Government has accepted the ACCC’s conclusion that reform is required, and given that significant change is afoot in other markets, we can expect to see much of what the ACCC has recommended to be included in the full government response to the Inquiry expected by the end of the year.

What were the concerns raised through the inquiry?

• Governments need to stay up to date and determine relevant oversight with changing and growing digital markets and use of data
• Consumers are not fully informed or understanding of the scope of personal data collected when they sign up for or use a digital platform
• Digital platforms collect vast troves of data on consumers from ever-expanding sources and have significant discretion over how this data is used and disclosed to other businesses and organisations, both now and in the future

A snapshot of the inquiry’s recommendations

• Proactive investigation, monitoring and enforcement of issues in markets in which digital platforms operate
• Inquiry into ad tech services and advertising agencies; in particular matters of transparency and pricing (including the assessment of excessive margins)
• Strengthen protections in the Privacy Act

So, what does all of this mean for you and your business?

The proposed changes may impact your existing customer databases as well as the way in which you collect, store and use this data moving forward. Database integrity is paramount for email marketing and remarketing – ensuring it is accurate and compliant is of critical importance.

Our tip – stay ahead of the curve and get your databases in order now:

  1. Building up databases now while it is easy
  2. Ensuring consent and opt-in is explicit and clear
  3. Assessing your website tracking cookies/pixels and ensuring these are included as part of your Privacy Policy
  4. Reviewing current databases (especially if they have been purchased by a third party)
  5. Reviewing marketing T&Cs
  6. Analysing existing data handling and management practices to ensure your data is secure regardless of impending regulations

If you have any questions about the recommendations or their implications for your business, we’re here to help. Contact us at



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