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Competition Commission notifies digital markets businesses of FSOI submission invitation

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The Competition Commission has notified digital markets participants, such as SMEs and HDP businesses, of the Online Platform Market Inquiry’s release of a further FSOI for public submission.

On Thursday, 19 August 2021, the Competition Commission of South Africa invited digital markets participants to make submissions on the recently released Further Statement of Issues (FSOI) by The Online Platform Markets Inquiry.

The Competition Commission explained the scope of the inquiry as being on business-to-consumer (B2C) online platforms, particularly features that may restrict platform competition. Moreover, those that are related to competition amongst businesses that utilise the platforms to list and sell their products. In particular, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and businesses owned by historically disadvantaged persons (HDP businesses). The FSOI is set to highlight areas for more focused investigations into five online platform categories, mainly eCommerce, delivery platforms, travel and accommodation, online classifieds and application stores, as well as raise some issues relating to platform competition.

The inquiry therefore issued a clarification note on its scope, calling on more businesses to share their experiences on their use of the online platforms. Moreover, specifically the extent of platform dependency, restrictions placed on their business by platforms, the perceived fairness of search engine algorithms, and platform terms and conditions. In addition, platform commission fees and the impact of any unfair treatment experienced was also included.

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