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Photo: Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The U.K. government said on Friday that it will establish next year a Digital Markets Unit, which will enforce forthcoming "pro-competition" regulations aimed at curbing some of the digital platforms like Google and Facebook.

Why it matters: This is the latest move by a government to respond to growing objections to the size and power these companies have amassed.

  • The new unit will be part of the Competition and Markets Authority, which published in July a report on online platforms and digital advertising markets, and will start operating in April 2021.
  • The upcoming "code of conduct" the new unit will create and enforce will establish parameters for the expectations users can have from these services and promote greater data portability, transparency, and even more advertising choice for users.
  • Much of how how the unit will operate, the new regulations, and the penalties still need to be established.

The big picture: Meanwhile, U.S. regulators have filed or are working on antitrust cases against these same companies, while the European Union unveiled this week new regulations to give users more control over their data.

Go deeper

Jan 14, 2021 - Technology

Google completes Fitbit acquisition

Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Google has completed its acquisition of connected fitness device maker Fitbit, the search giant announced in a blog post Thursday.

Why it matters: Google's successful purchase of Fitbit comes as antitrust regulators around the world scrutinize large tech companies for their acquisitions, past and present.

Updated 9 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.