Facebook says ACCC’s ad tech probe makes a number of incorrect assumptions

Fb has requested Australia’s competitors watchdog to return to the drafting board with its probe into the native promoting tech (advert tech) house, saying a few of its proposals would have a major influence far past the supposed focus of its inquiry.

“Digital companies, together with those who generate income by way of personalised promoting (corresponding to Fb’s), create substantial advantages for Australian companies and shoppers,” it stated in a submission [PDF] to the Australian Competitors & Shopper Fee (ACCC).

“Consequently, Fb considers the ACCC ought to undertake detailed additional consideration, evaluation and stakeholder engagement is required to help the ACCC in assessing the potential broad influence of its proposals and to make sure that these proposals don’t stifle innovation, hinder competitors, hurt companies and shoppers, or in any other case have unintended penalties throughout the promoting ecosystem.”

The ACCC is at the moment focusing its efforts, once more, on Google, saying it is involved with “Google’s industry-leading place”.

Fb is off the hook for now because the ACCC stated, regardless of submissions on the contrary, in contrast to Google, Fb doesn’t promote its personal advert stock within the “open show market” or by way of the advert tech provide chain. As an alternative, Fb makes use of its personal closed techniques to promote stock on to advertisers.

“[The interim report] makes conclusions about Fb’s use of information and transparency for promoting that are incorrectly conflated with the evaluation by the interim report of Google’s main place within the provide of advert tech companies,” Fb stated.

“The interim report misconstrues Fb’s place in relation to entry to knowledge with out endeavor correct inquiry or session.”

The ACCC fashioned the preliminary view that “the shortcoming of smaller rivals to entry the mandatory sorts and volumes of information to compete successfully with Google and Fb is prone to increase limitations to entry or growth”.

“In gentle of Fb’s very restricted function in advert tech companies (as recognised by the ACCC), it’s not acceptable for the ACCC to attract conclusions on the function of information in Fb’s wider enterprise (in advert tech or extra typically) by reference to an evaluation of how gamers within the advert tech provide chain entry and use knowledge,” Fb stated.

“Actually, the ACCC’s wide-ranging conclusions are merely not supported by the extra narrowly focussed proof and evaluation within the interim report and have been reached with out correct inquiry or session on that wider scope.”

In step with knowledge safety laws corresponding to Europe’s GDPR, Fb considers that knowledge portability must be user-initiated and the ACCC ought to accordingly deal with user-initiated knowledge portability proposals.

“Additional, the interim report doesn’t present proof to help the notion that advertiser-initiated or publisher-initiated knowledge portability is in reality mandatory or fascinating,” it added.

Fb stated its entry to knowledge has not prevented or inhibited new entry and progress by rivals within the promoting sector.

Fb argues that it operates in a “extremely aggressive and dynamic promoting panorama”.

“Quite a few firms are well-established within the internet marketing house, together with Google, Amazon, and Twitter. There are additionally many new entrants which have expanded quickly, together with Snap whose income from digital promoting has been growing considerably, and TikTok … the limitations for additional new entrants aren’t excessive,” it claims.

“Fb competes vigorously with offline promoting channels and a variety of on-line companies that supply search and/or show promoting companies, all of which search to seize person engagement and corresponding advertiser spend. Whereas the Inquiry focuses on on-line show promoting, additionally it is mandatory to think about the influence of any proposals on different on-line and offline promoting channels.”

It considers the ACCC’s work to this point as a “start line”. It is requested the watchdog pay correct recognition to the extremely aggressive and dynamic nature of the promoting sector.

“The digital ecosystem is quickly evolving and the controversy on regulating digital companies is a world one which stretches past competitors and client legislation issues,” it stated. Specifically, the influence of the ACCC’s proposals on customers’ privateness rights and expectations requires cautious thought and consideration. Fb urges the ACCC to not act unilaterally in growing regulatory proposals that lower throughout privateness and knowledge safety expectations and laws.”

The social media big additionally believes the ACCC ought to proceed to watch the influence of evolving net browser and cell working system modifications; train warning to keep away from undermining personalised promoting companies; and not draw conclusions on the function of information or impose data-related proposals which have implications far past the advert tech stack.

Twitter, in the meantime, believes the ACCC’s interim report raises a lot of necessary points affecting innovation, competitors, and dynamism of markets for digital promoting companies in Australia.

It due to this fact “encourages” the ACCC to withstand over intervention that dangers stifling innovation and competitors to the detriment of advertisers, publishers, and shoppers in terms of considering new guidelines or enforcement actions within the advert tech provide chain.

Moderately, it considers the ACCC’s proposed interventions must be focused solely to these market members whose dominant place within the provide chain “undermines aggressive rigidity, creates or entrenches limitations to entry or growth, or offers rise to client hurt”.

“Regulation shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all method,” it wrote in its submission [PDF].

Pointing to proposed knowledge portability necessities, Twitter stated making use of the rule to all corporations no matter their market place and energy might inhibit new entrants and smaller market members.

“Guidelines or necessities launched to handle self-preferencing, conflicts of curiosity and/or interoperability must be directed and solely relevant to corporations which the ACCC considers to have a market dominance or energy and that have interaction in problematic or anticompetitive conduct,” it stated.

“We warning that industry-wide interoperability necessities might hurt competitors by imposing important design, implementation and compliance prices on smaller rivals, disincentivising new entrants or stifling the innovation that drives competing enterprise fashions and companies in digital markets.”