Platforms as Regulators

29 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2020

See all articles by Niamh Dunne

Niamh Dunne

London School of Economics - Law School

Date Written: July 31, 2020


The proposition that certain digital platforms act as ‘regulators’ within their own business models is a key pillar of the European Commission report on Competition Policy for the Digital Era, and the basis upon which its authors build a wide-ranging duty for dominant platforms to secure competition that is ‘fair, unbiased and pro-users’. This article seeks to shed light on this novel contention, exploring its meaning and the implications for platform operators. It considers the rationale provided within the report, and compares the approach with established Art.102 TFEU case-law, specifically the ‘special responsibility’ doctrine. Consideration is also given to whether the platforms-as-regulators notion aligns with alternative modes of regulation within the digital sphere. The aim is to explore whether this approach is coherent, and actually useful, as a means by which to frame and direct future enforcement against digital platforms.

Keywords: competition law, regulation, digital economy, platforms

JEL Classification: K21, K23

Suggested Citation

Dunne, Niamh, Platforms as Regulators (July 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Niamh Dunne (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law School ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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