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The report, which is the ACCC’s sixth in its ‘digital platform services inquiry’ details issues of excessive data collection, the prevalence of scams and fraud, inadequate disclosure of sponsored content, and a lack of competition. | Source: Shutterstock
The report, which is the ACCC’s sixth in its ‘digital platform services inquiry’ details issues of excessive data collection, the prevalence of scams and fraud, inadequate disclosure of sponsored content, and a lack of competition. | Source: Shutterstock

ACCC demands legal reform citing harm to retailers on social media

Australia’s Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC) has called for changes to legislation concerning social media amid concerning reports relating to consumers and small businesses.

The report, which is the ACCC’s sixth in its ‘digital platform services inquiry’ details issues of excessive data collection, the prevalence of scams and fraud, inadequate disclosure of sponsored content, and a lack of competition.

Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb emphasised the harm inflicted on small-to-medium businesses, as well as consumers.

Gina Cass-Gottlieb - Chairperson of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Gina Cass-Gottlieb - Chairperson of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
“We are concerned about the level of influence social media platforms hold over users and their position as critical intermediaries for businesses to reach customers. Limited competition in these services can lead to poorer outcomes for consumers and small businesses.”
Gina Cass-Gottlieb, ACCC

“Social media services are an essential part of our daily lives and have provided many benefits to society,” she said. 

“We are concerned about the level of influence social media platforms hold over users and their position as critical intermediaries for businesses to reach customers. Limited competition in these services can lead to poorer outcomes for consumers and small businesses.”

The ACCC said many businesses – including jewellery retailers - rely on social media platforms to advertise their products and engage with consumers.

These businesses are increasingly reliant on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram for targeted and cost-effective advertising solutions.

“Advertisers have raised concerns about being unable to choose the best services to suit their needs because of the lack of transparency and accuracy of advertising performance data provided to them by social media platforms,” Cass-Gottlieb said.

“These harms to consumers and small businesses are exacerbated when coupled with what many users consider a lack of effective dispute resolution mechanisms with social media platforms.”

The report also found that Australians continue to spend more time on Facebook and Instagram combined than any other platform and that Meta’s services have the most users and advertisers.

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