The ACCC has been considering the competition and consumer impacts of digital platforms since 2017. This report considers whether reform is needed to address the challenges posed by digital platforms, so Australians can benefit from continued competition, investment and innovation in these services.

The ACCC's analysis has identified significant consumer and competition harms across a range of digital platform services. These include financial losses to scams and unresolved disputes, reduced choice and an inability to make informed choices, reduced innovation and quality, and higher (monetary and non-monetary) prices. The conduct causing these harms is widespread, entrenched, and systemic. However, enforcement of existing laws, while important, has proven insufficient in Australia and overseas to address such conduct quickly or effectively, further increasing the risk and magnitude of harm.

To protect consumers and small businesses, the ACCC recommends new targeted requirements on digital platforms to:

  • provide user-friendly processes for reporting scams, harmful apps, and fake reviews, and to respond to such reports (‘notice and action’ requirements)
  • verify certain business users (e.g. advertisers, app developers and merchants)
  • publish review verification processes
  • report on scams, harmful apps and fake reviews on their services, and measures taken to address them
  • meet minimum internal dispute resolution standards. This obligation would be supported by the establishment of a new digital platform ombuds scheme to resolve disputes that cannot be resolved via internal dispute resolution processes.
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