This article provides an overview of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry, as a case study in the new thinking about digital platform regulation taking place in many nations. With its focus upon the impact of digital platforms on news and journalism, the ACCC Inquiry parallels other reviews, such as the Cairncross Review on the Future of Journalism in the United Kingdom. While the Inquiry had a somewhat ‘accidental’ history, the core issues that it raised have acquired considerable political resonance in Australia. The concept of harms provides a useful lens through which to understand the ACCC’s focus, as it identified harms caused by the market dominance of Google and Facebook for traditional news media businesses, and for consumers and citizens. Responding to the ACCC Final Report will present challenges in identifying the public good dimension of journalism and who should pay for it, the scope and reach of digital platform regulation and its relationship to media policy and regulation, and the scope for small nations to effectively manage the power of global digital platform giants.
Flew, T., & Wilding, D. (2021). The turn to regulation in digital communication: the ACCC’s digital platforms inquiry and Australian media policy. Media, Culture and Society, 43(1), 48–65. https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443720926044