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    A woman browses the site of US home sharing giant Airbnb on a tablet in Berlin on April 28, 2016.

    Airbnb, Uber Need to Be Regulated to Avoid Market Monopolization - Research

    © AFP 2019 / John Macdougall
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    Uber and Airbnb have come under fire as experts claim that as sharing platforms they should be regulated to avoid the market becoming monopolized.

    According to the Rathenau Institute, which aims to stimulate public and political opinion forming on social aspects of science and technology, without regulation, jobs in the traditional economy could come under threat.

    Organizations like Airbnb, which allows for people to lend their property to others for a fee, do have positive effects and help to drive innovation forward, the report claimed. However, there are many concerns such as privacy and consumer protection that should be considered.

    ​According to the research the number of people using sharing platforms has increased significantly over the last four years and now one in four people say they have rented a house or borrowed a car or tools via websites that allow them to share items.

    The problem arises however in how fair the sector is — there is no guarantee of a level playing field. For example a regular taxi firm maybe charging a higher price than Uber, which would eliminate them from the market.

    Institute director Melanie Peters said that regulation is key in order to stop dominant players from monopolizing the market.

    "We have to regulate them before they become too dominant in their sector. The report makes three main recommendations to the government. Firstly, the legal status of sharing platforms needs to clarify. Secondly, an independent regulator needs to be established to ensure the privacy of participants. And thirdly, the data collected by the platforms should be transferable," Ms. Peters said in a recent interview. 

    "Sharing platforms are data-driven and largely dependent on the data and the reviews of their users," Peters said. "We propose making sure that user can take their data with them to other platforms."

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    Tags:
    housing sector, taxi, monopoly, sharing, platform, online, travel, Airbnb, Uber, United States, Netherlands
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