Online Platforms

Online platforms (e.g. search engines, social media, e-commerce platforms, app stores, price comparison websites) are playing an ever more central role in social and economic life: they enable consumers to find online information and businesses to exploit the advantages of e-commerce. Online platforms share key characteristics including the use of information and communication technologies to facilitate interactions (including commercial transactions) between users, collection and use of data about these interactions, and network effects which make the use of the platforms with most users most valuable to other users. Platforms have proven to be innovators in the digital economy. But they are also raising concerns. Some platforms can control access to online markets and can exercise significant influence over how various players are remunerated.