On the evening of the 29th, the State Administration for Market Regulation issued the “Guidelines for Classification and Classification of Internet Platforms (Draft for Comment)” (hereinafter referred to as the “Guidelines for Classification and Classification”), “Guidelines for the Implementation of Main Responsibilities of Internet Platforms (Draft for Comments)” and “hereinafter referred to as “Guidelines for Subject Liability” “”. What is the standard of the Internet super platform? What are the responsibilities of platforms of different levels? How to supervise? How will ordinary users be affected?
Internet platform classification standards. Picture source: The Public Account of the State Administration of Market Supervision “City Speaks New Language”
The super platform is here! Taobao WeChat or listed
China’s Internet platforms are mainly divided into six categories, namely, online sales platforms, life service platforms, social entertainment platforms, information and information platforms, financial service platforms, and computing application platforms. Commonly used social, games and short videos are divided into social entertainment platforms.
In terms of classification, it is divided into three levels: super platform, large platform, and medium and small platform. It is worth noting that the super platform refers to a platform that simultaneously has a super large user scale, super wide range of business types, super high economic volume and super restrictive capabilities.
Specifically, the super platform’s annual active users in China last year was no less than 500 million; the core business of the platform involved at least two types of platform business; the market value (valuation) of the platform at the end of last year was no less than 100 billion yuan; the platform has strong restrictions The merchant’s ability to reach consumers (users).
According to incomplete analysis, currently Internet companies that meet the above conditions may include Alibaba, NetEase,MilletOther companies may also be expected to become super platforms.
Number of WeChat and QQ users. Image source: Screenshot of Tencent’s financial report for the first half of 2021.
For example, Tencent currently has a total market value of more than 3.8 trillion yuan, and it owns a number of businesses such as social networking, games, Internet advertising, and information. According to its financial report, as of the end of June 2021, the combined monthly active users of WeChat and QQ reached 1.25 billion.
Of course, there are still some companies that are not listed and cannot accurately assess their market value and other data. For example, Douyin and Ant Financial may belong to super platforms.
Super platforms will be subject to strong supervision of antitrust, data security, etc.
The “Guide to Subject Responsibility” points out that super-large platform operators should abide by the principles of fairness and non-discrimination, and at the same time be subject to many aspects of supervision in terms of open ecology, data management, risk prevention and control, and internal governance.
The “Guidelines for Subject Liability” clarify that Internet platform operators must not engage in monopoly agreements, abuse of market dominance, and other monopolistic activities; they must not use technical means to obstruct or damage other operators’ legally provided network products or by influencing user choices or other means. Unfair competition in the normal operation of services; it is not allowed to induce or force users to log in and use other services provided by themselves for the purpose of merging personal data.
Some analysts pointed out that there is no doubt that Internet super platforms will be subject to stricter supervision and platform responsibilities will also be greater. At the same time, the introduction of the “Guidelines for Classification and Classification” will also make supervision more targeted.
Xue Jun, a professor at the Law School of Peking University, said that the “Guidelines for Classification and Classification” emphasize the implementation of reasonable classification and classification requirements for different types of platforms, rather than “one size fits all” for various types of platforms. This is a more pragmatic approach. In particular, the distinction between super platforms and other platforms makes regulatory measures more targeted.
How are ordinary users affected?
According to the “Guidelines for Subject Responsibility”, Internet platform operators should protect the statutory rights of consumers and must not deceive or mislead consumers. Internet platform operators shall establish convenient and effective online complaints, reports and dispute resolution mechanisms to assist consumers in safeguarding their rights and interests.
In addition, Internet platform operators should establish an internal supervision and inspection system for the goods and services released by the operators on the platform, and urge the operators on the platform to provide products and services that meet the requirements for the protection of personal and property safety. Internet platform operators shall undertake corresponding security guarantee obligations to protect the personal and property safety of consumers.
It is worth noting that the “Guide to Subject Liability” proposes that Internet platform operators shall not restrict the flexible employment of platform personnel from employment on other Internet platforms. This means that employees in new formats such as “Takeaway Brothers” may be more flexible in employment in the future. (over)