Briefing

Competition Bureau asks for reports about anti-competitive behaviour in digital economy

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The bureau highlights social media, search, display advertising and online marketplaces in its call for submissions, which are due by November 30. Submissions will be kept confidential and may inform future investigations. In the fall, the bureau is also planning on holding in-person meetings with digital economy stakeholders in multiple Canadian cities. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Canada’s Competition Bureau has conducted far fewer investigations into tech firms than its counterparts in the EU and U.S. have. This is the latest in a growing series of signs that the bureau is looking to change that. The bureau doesn’t name the companies on which it’s specifically looking for information. However, it does provide several examples of potentially anti-competitive behaviour for which firms like Google and Amazon have faced scrutiny in other jurisdictions. For example, it notes that an anti-competitive strategy would be for a “search engine to systematically push its search users towards its own navigation or restaurant review products, rather than those offered by rivals.” In July, 23 European job-search websites raised concerns with the EU competition commissioner that Google was using its search dominance to unfairly boost listings on its own site. The Canadian bureau also cites “an online marketplace manipulating its rankings so that its own products and services appear above those offered by rivals” as a potential issue. The EU is currently investigating Amazon, partially over such concerns.