Google, Facebook and more recently Baidu or Alibaba are among the “digital giants” whose appearance has upset the economic but also political landscape at an international level. However, is the traditional framework of competition law still adapted to better regulate these digital platforms?
Giants who have become major economic and political players
The acronym Gafam borrows its initials from the companies Google , Amazon , Facebook , Apple and Microsoft . But, by this term in the widened sense, one now designates innovative and structuring companies, at the head of the digital industry. In two decades, they have become major economic but also political players.
The report highlights the importance of their particular and new development model which relies “to a greater or lesser extent on the collection of personal data “, according to the authors.
The report details the very strong trend towards concentration on the digital platforms market since the early 2000s. This is the case, for example, of Facebook which, through an original development model, has acquired an undisputed lead in its development. field. It is this natural tendency of users to concentrate around a service offering that makes some companies structuring digital platforms.
This is what is happening with the American Gafam, but also and, this is more recent, with the Chinese BATHX ( Baidu , Alibaba , Tencent , Huawei and Xiaomi ) which are turning, at least for some, more and more towards the West.
What governance avenues?
After this inventory, the rapporteurs ask the question of the effectiveness of the tools of control and regulation of these industries in the state of the current legal framework.
While digital technology is omnipresent in everyday life (instant messaging, applications, etc.), the undeniable preponderance of these companies justifies the necessary adaptations to competition law.
A previous report thus recommended the specific creation of a right to control digital platforms . This proposal echoes the multilateral agreement signed by the G7 countries in June 2021 to reform the tax regime imposed on large multinationals, in particular Gafam.
Finally, the rapporteurs insist on the idea of digital and strategic autonomy, that is to say that in the future, France, at a national level, but also through the European Union, can open up a ” third digital channel ” allowing an alternative to American and Chinese channels.