Digital Platform Regulators Forum communique

Digital Platform Regulators Forum names algorithms, digital transparency and increased collaboration as priorities for 2022/23

The heads of the four members of the Digital Platform Regulators Forum (the forum) met yesterday and have agreed on a collective set of priorities for 2022/23.

Members of the forum are: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA), eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) and Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

The forum’s strategic priorities for 2022/23 include a focus on the impact of algorithms, seeking to increase transparency of digital platforms’ activities and how they are protecting users from potential harm, and increased collaboration and capacity building between the four members.

Through the forum all members have agreed to share information and work together to tackle issues across their traditional lines of responsibility.

Digital transparency

The forum will also focus on issues surrounding digital transparency, which it considers is essential for the protection of Australians.

It will particularly focus on improving transparency of what digital platforms are doing to protect Australians from potential harm, including how consumer data is being handled, and the impact of their activities to address misinformation.

These transparency issues are particularly concerning to the forum, given the power and information asymmetries between digital platforms and users.

Together with measures already in place, the forum aims to further address these transparency and accountability issues through the examination of existing terms and conditions, analysis of public reports, and potential additional regulatory or enforcement action undertaken by forum members where appropriate.

Examining algorithms and their impact

Examining the development and use of algorithms will form a key part of the forum’s work. The forum will look at the impact of algorithms on Australians in a range of areas, including algorithmic recommendations and profiling, moderation algorithms, promotion of disinformation, harmful content, and product ranking and displays on digital platforms such as online marketplaces.

The forum will conduct additional research, engage with industry, meet with expert stakeholders, and conduct workshops throughout 2022/23.

Collaboration

All members of the forum will continue to strengthen their existing relationships by growing collaboration, sharing information, and coordinating on matters relating to digital platforms regulation.

The forum’s collaboration in 2022/23 intends to include joint engagement with stakeholders, submissions and advice to Government, and training and other capability building programs.

The forum is committed to working together to promote proportionate, cohesive, well-designed and efficiently implemented digital platform regulation.

Yesterday’s meeting follows the release of the forum’s Terms of Reference in March 2022 [PDF] and continued work between the forum members over the last year.

The forum also discussed work already undertaken on:

  • the development of codes of practice for digital platforms
  • shared data holdings and opportunities for improved information sharing
  • potential future engagement with international counterparts.

“The ACCC considers that the work of the Digital Platform Regulators Forum is key for our own work on digital platforms, particularly as we are currently reviewing whether there is a need for competition and consumer reform as part of our ongoing digital platforms inquiry,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

“We look forward to working with our fellow regulators so that digital platforms’ response to public concerns around significant issues like disinformation is more transparent and effective,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“This important forum allows us to focus the combined domain expertise of all four regulators on issues that cut across our respective mandates. I’m looking forward to continuing our work together improving the experience of all Australians online, ensuring we remain at the vanguard of fair, balanced and innovative end-to-end digital regulation. With increased interdependence on technology and online services, Australians deserve no less,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.

“Personal information is central to data-driven businesses and its protection critical to prevent online harms. We will continue to work closely with other regulators through the forum to advance online privacy protections for Australians, protect individuals from harm in the online environment and ensure the best outcomes are achieved in the public interest,” Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said.

This communique is jointly released by the ACCC, ACMA, eSafety and OAIC.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.