Brexit, digital platforms and algorithms: exploring competition policy in the UK
Queen Mary University of London
Investigations into the allegedly monopolistic behavior of big tech companies around the world have put competition policy in the spotlight. Debates over the rigorous application of current rules to tame tech giants ensued and many called for a new legal framework.
These were the questions addressed by panel experts Amelia Fletcher CBE (professor of competition policy at the University of East Anglia and former member of the Digital Competition Expert Panel), Mike Walker (chief economic adviser to the CMA) and David Parker (Director of Competition Practice at Frontier Economics). The event was hosted by the Mile End Institute (MEI) and an economics graduate from Queen Mary David Pakozdi. It was the first MEI event to focus specifically on competition policy.
As the role of the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) grows with Brexit, the panel explored how the proposed approach to technology platforms compares in an international context, by especially as it relates to the EU, and discussed how it can be effective in ensuring markets do. does not favor a single dominant player. Experts also looked at what governments, academics, economists and the private sector can do to address the challenges posed by algorithmic business models that amplify human biases.
Commenting on her research on digital platforms, Professor Amelia Fletcher CBE said: “Some digital platforms featured gatekeeper positions for certain users. Business users really needed to use these platforms to access consumers, which gave them some bottleneck power in the market. We were also concerned that these market positions would expand into new services creating a whole new kind of digital ecosystems.
Mike Walker reflected on what he thought he had learned about digital platforms in recent years. He said: “We have to recognize that digital platforms create great products. […] but that does not mean that competition policy does not apply to these companies […] we learned that competition policy has failed […] it’s just too slow.
David Parker, stressing that the views expressed were his own, said: “The coming decade will be difficult for digital businesses due to fragmentation and approaches. If you are an international company working in global markets, you would ideally like to have a holistic approach to compliance […] We have several developments happening simultaneously in different jurisdictions, I think this is going to make life very difficult at all levels.
About the Mile End Institute
The Mile End Institute at Queen Mary University in London is an important political center established at Queen Mary University in London. It brings together research, policy making and public debate to deepen and challenge understanding of UK politics, governance and public policy in order to address the great political challenges of our time.