In recent years, EU and national regulators have put forward different initiatives specifically targeting online platforms. Most of these initiatives try to ensure that platforms are:
- more active in fighting illegal content; an
- more transparent and fair towards consumers and businesses offering products and services.
Cullen International's European Digital Economy service covers national initiatives of this kind in nine EU countries.
This is the first of three benchmarks we are releasing on national developments affecting platforms in Europe. Over three weeks, we will share with you one benchmark per week.
Challenge 1: Transparency
In recent years, regulators in several European countries have raised concerns about the lack of transparency and fairness of online platforms for consumers or towards traders that sell on the platforms.
In this context, the European Commission plans to present in April 2018:
- legislation (in the form of a regulation) to promote fairness and transparency for business users of online platforms; and
- legislation (as part of the consumer law review) to introduce transparency requirements for online platforms.
However, instead of waiting for EU action, some countries have put forward their own national policy initiatives to ensure that platforms are more fair and transparent in their relationships with traders and consumers.
Our research shows, for instance, that:
- platforms are subject to binding transparency requirements only in France; and
- France and Italy have prohibited MFN (Most Favoured Nation) clauses, which prevent traders from offering better prices and conditions on sales channels other than the platform.
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