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US bill tackles internet platforms over ‘self preferencing’


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A new bill announced in the US Senate aims to tackle ‘self preferencing’ by large internet companies: the practice of favouring their own products or services in an anticompetitive way. It’s being sponsored by two high-profile senators: Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican Chuck Grassley, so there’s some weight behind it.

The legislation could affect many of the big tech companies currently operating: Apple and apps; Google and search results; Amazon and search results – a growing topic of discussion in 2021 – and more.

It follows similar legislation passed by the US House Judiciary Committee earlier this year. “Industry opposition is likely to be significant,” suggested the Wall Street Journal, in a neat piece of understatement. Keep an eye on this, and not just from the standpoint of the biggest tech firms.

At some point, even streaming services – the major ones – could come under scrutiny for self preferencing: for example for how in-house playlists are surfaced in their own search algorithms compared to those of third parties.

Stuart Dredge

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