Policymakers Must Be Careful on 'Platform Regulation'

April 30, 2018

The European Commission has proposed a regulation to compel online platforms to publish their policies on third-party sellers and to apply those policies consistently. As the Center for Data Innovation’s Nick Wallace writes for EUobserver, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union should not make drastic changes to this regulation. The proposal would prevent capricious behavior without distorting the online economy because platforms would still have full control of their own policies. Platforms are so diverse that policymakers have struggled to establish an uncontested definition of what a platform is, or even to define the markets that various platforms trade in. That poses problems for any regulation targeting platforms, but the commission's proposal is nevertheless largely benign. Moreover, even if there is no compelling case for regulation, the proposal at least provides reassurances to businesses without harming consumers, which is why MEPs and member states should refrain from inflating it with harmful amendments.