Facebook and Google are under scrutiny due to their duopoly over the digital ad market. Investigations aim to confirm zero exploitation of personal data to dominate the £13bn UK digital ad market.

The CMA planned to examine the influence of Google and Facebook over the digital ad market exercising consumer control over the use and collection of personal data. Facebook faced heavy criticism and scrutiny over the Cambridge Data Scandal and its hand behind the dissemination of fake news. It is necessary to analyze whether the data available to advertisers is in exchange for any monetary gains.

With Google and Facebook gobbling up the significant share of the internet ad market, the rest of the players are left behind battling for a shrinking slice of the pie. In 2019, the duopoly captures 61.4% of the total internet ad spending. WARC reported Google and Facebook owns 29% of the total advertising expenditures, across online and offline platforms. Out of every £4 spend on advertising across various platforms, Google or Facebook takes away £1. This is majorly due to their development and dominance over all the ad formats online marketers prefer ranging from paid search and social media marketing. The ease of use of innovative self-service ad buying tools makes their products accessible and preferable to all business sizes.

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In this fast-changing market, the parliament and the public should have a better grip on the functioning of global online platforms. Recently, the information commission charged Facebook with a £500,000 fine for failing to protect users’ information. The CMA is strictly digging in to ensure no abuse of power by the US technology giants, who derive gigantic revenues from online advertising. Facebook and Google duopoly has been predicted to control over 70% of the UK digital ad market by 2020. By the end of next year, Facebook is expected to contribute £3.8bn in UK advertising spending. Facebook’s contribution is only marginally less than the value of the entire commercial TV market which mounts up to £4bn.

The need to conduct a thorough investigation was pressed upon by the world’s biggest advertisers- Unilever and Procter & Gamble, who withdrew advertising from Google and Facebook questioning their transparency. Experts claimed that the digital ad market has been dominated and distorted by data monopolies. The Government needs to introduce strong safeguards with stringent competition laws to ensure the fair and transparent working of online platforms.

This investigation will crystalize the functioning of the ad market magnifying how they monetize their content through digital advertising, how they collect and use personal data, and how to deal with the competition. Based on the findings derived, the policies and regulations of the digital ad market will be redesigned, filtered, and redrafted by the U.K Government authorities.

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