At the time the new Commission took office, ‘platform regulation’ was one of those concepts most controversially discussed in the Brussels policy community – and far beyond it. While a lot has been written about that concept the Commission ultimately announced that there will be no specific platform regulation. Online platforms are, of course, subject to regulation through various policy-specific, vertical initiatives but a promise has been made to not regulate platforms horizontally.
It seems times have changed and promises could be broken when the Commission will unveil its legislative proposal on ‘fairness in platform-to-business relations’ either at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year. As part of this ongoing initiative the Commission has recently published an Inception Impact Assessment (IIA), a document that describes the various policy options the Commission is considering to address ‘unfair’ platform-to-business (P2B) trading practises by online platforms. The Commission identified these unfair trading practices to include sudden changes to platforms’ terms and conditions, lack of transparency with regard to ranking, lack of access to certain type of data, lack of meaningful redress mechanisms, removal or delisting of products or services and potential situations of discrimination. The IIA provides a more detailed description of these issues. MORE »