15:45 GMT19 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) voiced on Monday its concern over the extent to which Google and Facebook are collecting user data in order to enable target advertising.

    "Many digital platforms increasingly collect a large amount and variety of user data. The data collected often extends beyond data that users actively provide when using the digital platform’s services… Consumers have informed the ACCC that they have concerns over the extent and range of information collected by digital platforms," the ACCC preliminary report, released on Monday and dubbed "Digital platforms inquiry," read.

    The ACCC went on to say that it believed costumers had to be able to make "informed and genuine" choices on how digital platforms collect and use their data, while at the same time pointing out that they were currently unable to do so over lack of "adequate information" and subsequent inability to choose between platforms judging by their data practices.

    "This is likely to impede potential competition between digital platforms on the privacy and data protection offered," the report read on.

    READ MORE: Pentagon Top Brass Infuriated That Google Works with China But Not US Military

    Since both Google and Facebook have "substantial" market power, these media giants may affect Australian businesses' ability to monetize content, the ACCC added.

    "Australian law does not prohibit a firm from possessing a substantial degree of market power. Nor does it prohibit a firm with a substantial degree of market power from ‘out-competing’ its rivals by using superior skills and efficiency to win customers at the expense of firms that are less skillful or less efficient," the ACCC said, calling on the government to protect companies and users via regulation.

    Commenting on the allegations of breaching competition and consumer laws, ACCC Chair Rod Sims added that the commission was investigating five allegations that certain digital platforms had violated them.

    In December 2017, the Australian government tasked the ACCC with carrying out an investigation into the impact that digital platforms have on competition in media and the country's advertising services markets. The ACCC has to provide a final report to the Australian government by June 3.

    The preliminary report contains 11 recommendations for companies and eight areas for further analysis.


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