HomeInsightsOfcom publishes an economic perspective on the challenges and opportunities in regulating online services


+44 (0)20 7612 9612

The paper, Online Market Failures and Harms, examines how harms that arise online could relate to each other by exploring common industry characteristics and market failures at their source.

Ofcom recognises that online services have revolutionised people’s personal and working lives, generating significant benefits. However, it says, some of their features have the potential to cause harms to individuals and society. These can include exposure to harmful content or conduct, loss of privacy, data or security breaches, lack of competition, unfair business practices or harm to wellbeing. In May, Ofcom’s Online Nation report set out the benefits to consumers of being online and their concerns about potential online harm.

Ofcom’s paper aims to contribute to the discussion on how to address these harms effectively, drawing on Ofcom’s experience as the UK communications regulator. It looks at the sources of online harms from an economic perspective, which can inform the broader policy assessment that policymakers and regulators may use to evidence and address them. To access the paper, click here.