It concerns the formation of consumer behavior and the use of user data. Peter Ivanov, Deputy Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia, said this at a session on digital ethics and psychology at SPIEF.
Modern digital markets are characterized by a great influence on consumers and, based on the analysis of user behavior, form their preferences. At the same time, digital ecosystems draw the attention of consumers to positions that are convenient for them.
For example, during an antitrust investigation against Google, the service noted that the mass consumer loves convenience with minimal effort: consumers will use what is offered to them first and does not require prolonged search. Such conditions can develop into opaque Internet ranking and search prioritization algorithms, limiting competition in the market.
In particular, the FAS found that the rules related to the formation, suspension, blocking of accounts and the circulation of user content on Youtube are opaque, biased and unpredictable. This leads to sudden blocking and deletion of user accounts without warning and justification for action. By decision of the department, the company was recognized as having violated Russian antimonopoly legislation.
In the context of antitrust regulation, it is consumer behavior data that is the most valuable resource. Possession and its use contribute to the growth of the market power of companies.
All these aspects lead to the need to cultivate conscious consumption on the Internet, as well as the most understandable and transparent disclosure of the mechanisms of the platform or ecosystem.
The FAS Russia laid the foundations for this in the basic principles, which the market joined in February 2022, declaring good faith behavior.
The principles, on the one hand, should contribute to the formation of open, transparent, non-discriminatory conditions for doing business, and on the other hand, ensure the implementation of the constitutional rights of citizens. In particular, the freedom to receive and disseminate information and privacy.
According to the FAS Russia, the actions of digital platforms should be given close attention. This concerns the formation of consumer behavior and the use of consumer data. Both in the context of establishing requirements for the openness and transparency of the behavior of digital platforms, protecting user rights, and in the context of increasing the level of conscious consumption of digital services, teaching citizens to value their own data and preferences.