Together, Google, Facebook and Amazon last year accounted for more than 70% of online advertising globally.
These Big Tech companies’ market power is in data, the lifeblood of the modern economy.
All over the world, there are legitimate concerns that the dominant companies will stifle innovation and can use their power to buy up potential young competitors, using the personal data of millions of users to entrench themselves.
The drive to curb Big Tech’s power has gained momentum this year. Competition authorities in Europe and in the UK are ahead of the US in drawing up broad new rules over how the large platforms with more than 45m users should operate.
This month’s proposals by European Commission, for example, are designed to force Facebook and others to take greater responsibility for policing the content on their sites and to share data with authorities on how they moderate illegal content.
In another case, the Federal Trade Commission and a group of 48 US attorneys-general hit Facebook with its first antitrust charges in the USA. The regulators are now trying to prove that the social media network deliberately acted in an anti-competitive way when buying WhatsApp and Instagram. While the purchases allowed Facebook to strengthen its position as the dominant social networking platform, the regulators claim that consumers were denied the benefits of competition.