Data Collection In Online Platform Businesses: A Perspective For Antitrust Assessment

By Eliana Garcés – 

There has been a growing attention to the role that data and data analytics are playing in the online world. The current public debate is assimilating the collection of massive amounts of data by large online platforms to extraordinary clout on the public and almost unassailable dominance among economic actors. The reality is of course more complex and less scary and big generalizations are not applicable to the reality of online platform businesses. This paper focuses on the impact of data on the value creation opportunities of platforms, on their governance and on their users. It proposes elements for the antitrust scrutiny of platform conduct that would help establish market power and identify genuinely abusive market behavior from normal conduct of business in a new technological environment. This paper leaves aside societal choices such as whether there should be a regulated level of privacy or whether specific policies in support of media diversity should be promoted. It rather aims to understand the market dynamic generated by online platform businesses that are able to utilize and monetize large amounts of collected information.