The P2B, short for Platform-to-Business Regulation, was adopted in late 2018 with the aim of improving trading conditions for business users relying on online intermediaries to reach the market. The P2B finally came into force yesterday on 12 July 2020 and is a small but important first step towards a more comprehensive EU regulatory framework for digital services.
The P2B is a transparency tool, which is intended to bring more discipline in the marketplace when it comes to intermediaries engaging in abusive or careless conduct vis-à-vis smaller commercial partners. Here are five things news publishers need to look out for:
Online platforms, search engines included, are required to be more transparent in a meaningful way about how their rankings work, and about the relative importance of the parameters that make up such rankings. A set of guidelines is due to be published soon over here.
The Regulation will also shed additional transparency on what data online platforms collect based on the activity of business users, and on how they make use of such data, which could help news organisations understand how to develop a more sustainable business edge.
Platforms are required to have simpler and clearer terms and conditions for business users, to which they can be held more accountable. They must now justify decisions taken in relation to the activity of business users and provide for comprehensive dispute settlement mechanisms.
Platforms will have to be upfront with business users about situations where they provide differentiated treatment to similar activities (eg. via self-preferencing), which should raise awareness about the competitive landscape.
The Regulation does not cover the online advertising market, where large platforms act as online intermediaries. In the early stages of the legislative process, policy makers concluded that the online advertising industry was too much of a wild animal to be tackled via this horizontal piece of legislation.