On June 20, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it will hold a series of public hearings on whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection enforcement law, enforcement priorities, and policy. The multi-day, multi-part hearings will take place this fall and winter.
It is expected that a lot of time will be devoted to the dominant digital two sided platforms (Google, Facebook, and Amazon) as well as the associated network effects. The FTC is interested in learning more about how their conduct hinders competition and innovation or how their services actually benefit consumers and enhance competition and innovation.
The hearings and public comment process will provide opportunities for FTC staff and leadership to listen to interested persons and outside experts representing a broad and diverse range of viewpoints. Additionally, the hearings will stimulate thoughtful internal and external evaluation of the FTC’s near- and long-term law enforcement and policy agenda. The hearings may identify areas for enforcement and policy guidance, including improvements to the agency’s investigation and law enforcement processes, as well as areas that warrant additional study.