The UK needs tougher rules to curb the dominance of Google and Facebook, including powers to break them up, the Competition and Markets Authority has said.
The CMA, which has been investigating their power in advertising for a year, said on Wednesday that it was “concerned that they have developed such unassailable market positions that rivals can no longer compete on equal terms”.
The CMA said the services provided by Google and Facebook “are highly valued by consumers and help many small businesses to reach new customers”.
“If the £14bn spend in the UK last year on digital advertising is higher than it would be in a more competitive market, this will be felt in the prices for hotels, flights, consumer electronics, books, insurance and many other products that make heavy use of digital advertising,” the CMA said.
It said that Google and Facebook’s market positions “also have a profound impact on newspapers and other publishers”, with newspapers reliant on the giants for nearly 40% of visits to their sites.