Online “influencers” and new social media platforms will come under the Australian competition regulator’s scrutiny.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is examining the state of competition for social media services across the country, along with how businesses advertise on platforms.
The latest iteration of its five-year Digital Platform Services Inquiry will update 2019 findings, which showed Facebook – now Meta – had substantial market power in terms of social media in Australia.
“(We are) eager to receive feedback on the barriers to entry and expansion for social media services in Australia, and if new entrants such as TikTok have changed the competitive landscape for social media services in Australia,” watchdog chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.
Along with competition issues, the commission will consider how businesses use social media to advertise, including through sponsored posts and paid influencers.
It will also look at hurdles and costs for consumers and businesses when they try to switch social media services, and the potential for users to be exposed to scams and misleading or deceptive conduct.
The commission on Tuesday called on businesses and consumers to respond to an issues paper, which will inform the sixth interim report for the inquiry.
“We want to hear from businesses and consumers about their experiences with social media services, including with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.
“We hope to examine trends in user preferences and engagement over time, and consider how users choose social media services.”
The primary focus for the commission’s report will be on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat, while others like YouTube, Reddit, and Discord will be considered.
It will also look at new platforms entering the market, like BeReal.
Australians last year lost more than $144 million to social media scams, according to the watchdog.
That was four times the amount lost in 2017, and double the amount lost in 2020.
(Australian Associated Press)