South Africa seeks to Regulate Online Platforms against major players like Apple, Google

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South Africa seeks to Regulate Online Platforms against major players like Apple, Google

In 2022, the Competition Commission of South Africa detailed plans to regulate the digital space. It focused on online platforms in eCommerce, app stores, travel and accommodation, food delivery, and online classified ads, and aimed to address competition issues among platforms and between businesses using them.

The targets are “leading platforms,” including well-known names like Takealot, Property24, Mr. Delivery, the Apple and Google App stores, Uber Eats, and Google Search, with proposed remedies addressing concerns in various categories of platforms.

The proposed remedies that would be imposed only on the identified ‘leading platforms’, include:

  • Stricter rules on paid results to address lack of transparency in “pay-for-position” rankings
  • Fee caps and standard rate cards to address exploitative and discriminatory fees that disadvantage smaller businesses
  • Allowing customers to pay businesses directly to address asymmetric business terms
  • Allowing direct sales or use of other channels only through the supplier to address exclusivity
  • Separating retail operations and ensuring fair access to data and removing algorithm bias to address self-preferencing conduct
  • Regulating commission fees, improving curation and visibility of local apps to address app store competition, sideloading restrictions, and lack of discoverability of South African apps
  • Examining the ability of small and medium enterprises and historically disadvantaged persons to participate in the digital economy


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