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Competition and regulation in digital markets and the evolving role of platforms

April 23, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm


This conference will examine the way forward for regulation and competition in digital markets, and the evolving role of platforms.

We expect discussion to focus on the role of the Digital Markets Unit in addressing digital competition issues going forward, and what further action might be needed from policymakers and regulators.

Further sessions examine the international regulatory landscape and the evolving role of platforms and regulation in tackling online harm

The agenda:

Competition regulation in the global digital economy – the evolving landscape
Developing a competition regime for digital markets in the UK
Addressing competition issues in digital markets – setting out clear guidelines, encouraging innovation and supporting smaller enterprises, and ensuring consumer benefit
Next steps for international collaboration and developing effective digital competition frameworks worldwide
The evolving role of platforms in tackling online harm – setting boundaries, freedom of expression, and the future for regulation
Key priorities for the new Digital Markets Unit and policy in the UK

Areas for discussion:

digital competition – the international landscape, and key developments in the sector
regulation – priorities for developing a competition regime for digital markets in the UK, and the role of the Digital Markets Unit:
a code of conduct – looking at development and enforceability of a regime for platforms funded by digital advertising that are designated as having strategic market status
enforcement practicalities:
powers that will be needed for the Digital Market Unit to be effective
looking at the ability to impose financial penalties for non-compliance and introduce pro-competitive interventions
regulatory agility and future proofing – how can it be ensured that the Digital Markets Unit is able to adapt changing market conditions and dynamics
SMEs and new entrants – the role of any future regulation framework in addressing barriers and supporting smaller players
M&A activity in digital markets – assessing its impact and the role of regulation in fostering innovation and safeguarding consumer benefit
international approaches to regulation – priorities, and what can be learned from developments and practice in different territories:
the impact of the European Commission’s Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act:
with the EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, writing in a column for Politico following recent events:
‘Just as 9/11 marked a paradigm shift for global security, 20 years later we are witnessing a before-and-after in the role of digital platforms in our democracy’
the US regulatory framework and whether steps are needed to curb the power of big tech:
including potential changes to Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act – under which internet platforms can publish and moderate content from third parties without being held legally liable for what they say
the evolving role of platforms in tackling online harm – and implications for future regulation and liability:
freedom of expression online – with a number of platforms banning President Trump following recent unrest in Washington DC and removing support for Parler
online harm – assessing effectiveness of strategies and actions taken so far by online platforms and social media companies in tackling online harm, disinformation and misinformation
how regulation in the UK will need to adapt:
as Ofcom is appointed as regulator for online harms, alongside the setting up of the Digital Market Unit
with the Health Secretary commenting that the action of platforms ‘raises regulation questions’ going forward

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials involved in this area of public policy, together with digital and social media platforms, consumer technology companies, digital advertising companies, data analytics companies, artificial intelligence and machine learning companies, other industry representatives from across the technology and digital sectors, lawyers and consultants with an interest in these topics, organisations and individuals representing the views of consumers and citizens, regulators, academics and reporters from the national and trade media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks – you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates – we’ll provide full details)
opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
networking too – there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact – we’ll tell you how!


April 23, 2021
9:00 am - 1:00 pm


Virtual Event
United Kingdom


Westminster eForum
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