Regulation is coming, but will not hold back disruption

Regulatory bodies across the world will increasingly push to ring-fence activities that, when combined, create durable monopolies, prevent anti-competitive acquisitions of all size, and root out abusive “take it or leave it” contracts. Similarly, the national security community will take a harder stance on the control of information and will not only examine the presence of misinformation and bad actors on platforms, but the implications of the algorithms that underpin these platforms. However, any actions taken will not rescue the disrupted nor halt the observed trends accelerating out of the crisis – actions taken to weaken select large digital-native platforms may favour others with similar models.

We should think holistically about anti-trust, privacy, and protecting the consumer. I want [regulatory bodies] to use the tools we have vigorously and effectively because the costs of inaction are growing.

—Rohit Chopra, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission, USA

Focusing on anti-competitive practices

media, entertainment, consumers, digital, regulation
Platforms are increasingly proactive in policing content and suspicious accounts.
Image : Getty Images/iStockphoto

Growing national security concerns

Tension around how to tackle harmful content

  • Liability protections for content moderation at risk: Efforts in the US to regulate platform content moderation and to consider narrowing liability protections for platforms on third-party content could affect platforms’ approach to harmful content.
  • Increase in private efforts to remove harmful content: In an effort to reduce the reach of harmful content, platforms are increasingly proactive in policing content and suspicious accounts, such as Twitter’s ban of QAnon, Reddit’s ban of r/The_Donald and YouTube’s ban of prominent white supremacist channels.

Stringent data and user privacy rules may harm smaller players

  • Governments continue to increase regulatory focus on data: Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has become the de facto global standard on corporate data management, while the State of California’s new data privacy law, along with additional requirements on the horizon, drive a complex legal environment in the US.
  • International data transfer becoming more difficult: In July 2020, the EU court struck down Privacy Shield, the data-sharing agreement between the EU and US, effectively barring companies from handling local user data outside of local data centres absent stringent contract requirements. This effort may harm smaller companies that cannot afford to duplicate capabilities abroad or achieve necessary legal compliance.

Contributors

World Economic Forum

Kirstine Stewart, Head of Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture, Member of the Executive Committee

Cathy Li, Head of Media, Entertainment and Information Industries, Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture

Stefan Hall, Project Lead, Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture

Farah Lalani, Community Lead, Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture

Hesham Zafar, Community Lead, Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture

Accenture

Robin Murdoch, Managing Director

Matthew Quinlan, Managing Director

Michael Chapman, Managing Director

Nigel Gilbert, Managing Director

Steven Tiell, Senior Principal

Paul Hogan, Senior Manager

Lindsey Skinner, Manager

Benjamin Miller, Consultant