26 September 2023

ACCC sets sights on social media

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An investigation into the state of competition for social media services has been launched by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Inviting input on the Commission’s issues paper Digital Platform Services Inquiry – March 2023 Report on social media services, the Chair of the ACCC, Gina Cass-Gottlieb said the investigation was part of the sixth interim report of the ACCC’s five-year Digital Platform Services Inquiry.

“The ACCC will also consider potential consumer issues, including the way that businesses are using social media advertising services such as display advertising, sponsored posts and paid influencers to engage with and advertise to consumers,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

“The ACCC will examine competition issues involving social media services, including barriers to entry and expansion faced by new platforms, and hurdles and costs faced by consumers and businesses when they try to switch services,” she said.

“The ACCC will also consider consumers’ experiences with social media, including through the impact of scams and the risk of being exposed to misleading or deceptive content by businesses through social media.”

Ms Cass-Gottlieb said the Commission wanted to hear from consumers about their experiences with social media services, including with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat.

“We hope to examine trends in user preferences and engagement over time, and consider how users choose social media services,” she said.

“The ACCC is also seeking views on the use and abuse of social media services for scams and misleading or deceptive content.”

She said Australians lost more than $144 million to scams on social media in 2021, almost double the amount recorded in 2020 and four times the amount in 2017.

Ms Cass-Gottlieb also encouraged people to share their views on the effectiveness of processes offered by social media platforms for consumers to report potentially misleading claims in social media advertising.

The ACCC’s 18-page Issues Paper can be accessed at this PS News link.

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