Self-regulation, an effective tool to support competition and consumer protection
On 31 May 2019, ICAS issued a short paper in response to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) public consultation on International Engagement as Part of its Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.
The 5-page document argues that advertising self-regulation is a great tool to support cross-border convergence when it comes to competition and consumer protection issues. Indeed, Self-Regulatory Organizations:
- provide an additional layer of consumer protection, including by facilitating the exchange of information in cases of complaints involving consumers located in a different jurisdiction from that of the media and/or the advertiser;
- provide an effective mechanism to address competition issues, nationally and internationally, e.g. by handling complaints from competitors on ads deemed non-compliant with the principle of fair competition or otherwise deemed in breach of applicable standards.
Looking into the future, ICAS believes that self-regulation is more needed than ever. The rise of social media, the global scope of these media, mobile devices, immersive technologies, the changing perceptions of gender roles, and attitudes towards personal data, are all issues that can benefit from self-regulatory standards that can quickly adapt to new developments while being enforced by trusted, independent bodies.
In all markets in which ICAS members operate, SROs work hand in hand with policy makers and law enforcers to ensure the highest possible level of complementarity. We therefore welcome the FTC hearings as a great opportunity to reflect on and reinforce this synergy.