Why The ACCC Has Its Eye On iMessage, Facebook Messenger And WhatsApp

Why The ACCC Has Its Eye On iMessage, Facebook Messenger And WhatsApp
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The ACCC has said it is monitoring Apple and Facebook’s market dominance in online dominance, after a new report found Australians are “overwhelmingly” choosing these platforms.

The competition watchdog has today released the first Digital Platform Services Inquiry interim report, which found the use of messaging platforms has “grown significantly” in response to the pandemic.

It points to Neilsen figures, which show Facebook Messenger has 14.7 million monthly active

Facebook Messenger has 14.7 million active users in Australia, while WhatsApp has 8 million monthly active users.

Apple, which enables both iMessage and FaceTime by default, is used by around 50 per cent of all mobile operating systems in Australia.

According to the ACCC, this market dominance is preventing new entrants from competing in the online messaging space.

“Australians have embraced the use of online private messaging apps, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Australian consumers use a range of messaging services during the day,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“Consumers commonly choose to use the biggest providers in part because their friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances are also more likely to use them, and because most online messaging services don’t allow consumers to send or receive messages to users of different services.”

“This means the big players have a significant competitive advantage over small entrants.”

The ACCC also suggested that existing terms and policies provide little information into how these messaging services collect and store user data.

“As large platforms continue to collect vast amounts of consumer information, they are also expanding into new sectors, growing their ‘ecosystems’ and with it, their market power and ability to draw in, and lock in, consumers,” Sims said.

“These expanded services can deliver benefits to consumers, but the impacts on competition and consumer choice need to be closely monitored and considered.”

 

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