London/Brussels/Canberra: Leading countries of the world have initiated moves to take actions against the giant companies from the IT sector, trying to have monopolies in the sector, using their financial might. As per reports, over the last few days, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Australia have taken some major decisions in this respect. The European Union has issued guidelines for maintaining the transparency of online platforms. The United Kingdom has formulated a ‘Code of Conduct’ for the IT companies and has warned of stiff fines in case of violations. Whereas, a bill has been presented in the Australian parliament having a provision for making companies like Facebook and Google to pay compensation to the concerned companies for the news content.
The resentment regarding the IT giants is on the rise on the international level, over the last few years. Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft are known as the big five in the IT sector. The valuation of these five companies together is $7 trillion on the international level. These companies have been accused of suppressing smaller players, using their financial might, creating a monopolistic scenario. The leading countries of the world have started taking cognisance of these accusations and the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union along with the United States, have started rapid moves in this matter. The US legal department initiated an inquiry by the name ‘Anti-Trust Review’ against these companies. Before that, even the US Congress had conducted inquiries into this matter. The report of the inquiry was presented in October and the report points to the monopolies of these companies. Sources informed that the report recommends enforcing controls over these companies to stop these monopolies. US President Donald Trump made a strong demand to cancel the law providing protection to the companies in the IT sector. Trump has threatened to use the Veto right to stall the defence Bill if the demand is not met.
The United Kingdom has announced setting up of an independent agency to monitor the activities of the IT giants in the market. Along with the agency named ‘Digital Markets Unit’, a separate set of guidelines have been issued to the companies. It will be closely monitored that the IT giants do not break the rules of competition, using their position in the market. There is one proposal which demands that companies violating the code of conduct should be made to pay a fine as big as 10% of their global revenue.
European Union has issued fresh guiding principles for ‘Online Platforms’. The Union said that this is being done to ensure that the leading companies active on the internet, maintain more transparency while providing information. At the same time, the Union claimed that these guiding principles would curtail the posting of false information on the internet.
Meanwhile, Australia has presented a new bill in parliament. The bill has a provision stating that companies like Google and Facebook should pay the companies providing ‘News Content’ to them. The bill has a clear indication that if Google and Facebook fail to sign agreements with these companies, the agency appointed by the government will step in. Australian leaders claimed that this step was being taken for safeguarding the interests of independent media and journalism. Australian Finance Minister Josh Frydenberg said that this is the first bill having a provision for payment for the New Content by the company publishing it to the companies providing it.