Towards a 'New Approach' for the Platform Ecosystem: A European Standard for Fairness in Platform-to-Business Relations
6 Journal of European Consumer and Market Law 227-228 (2017)
2 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018
Date Written: December 5, 2017
The rise of digital platforms has dramatically changed the digital economy over the past decade. This development has sparked a controversy about how the regulatory framework has to be adapted to the new platform economy. More recently, the focus of the debate is shifting to fairness in platform-to-business (P2B) relations.
Preliminary results of a fact-finding exercise conducted by the European Commission indicate that a number of platforms engage in unfair trading practices towards businesses, such as delisting of products or services without due notice, unilateral account suspensions, lack of access to customer data and lack of transparency in ranking or search results. Many platforms also play a dual rule when they both offer a marketplace for traders and compete with them at the same time. Some of these dual-role platforms seem to unfairly favour their own products or services.
In its Mid-Term Review of the Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission announced that it will prepare (legislative) actions to address the issues of unfair contractual clauses and trading practices identified in P2B relations. This short paper suggests to adopt a regulatory strategy modeled on the 'New Approach', which has been used for a long time in the area of product safety. It is argued that this method of co-regulation can easily be transferred to the platform economy.
Keywords: digital single market, platform economy, digital platforms, unfair commercial practices, standardization, new approach
JEL Classification: K12, K20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation