Platforms, regulation and competition
This chapter summarizes some of the main regulatory and competition arguments that have been made in favour of, or against, platforms. It focuses on competition issues, it is also important to mention the tension between labour laws in many countries and many platforms' use of self-employed or independent contractors. Platforms such as Uber or Airbnb are often accused of 'unfair competition' and of being in breach of a raft of regulations. Some judges and lawyers seem to be assuming that platforms offering services for free are necessarily behaving in a predatory manner. Successful platforms should also provide regulators with data on their activities in order to alleviate concerns. If, however, platforms end up being under-regulated, then they may be able to drive out competition and abuse their market power in the longer term, ultimately to the detriment of consumers.