Prague, Czechia


“middleware” solution. EU competition law is capable of incorporating the values of platform decentralisation, albeit not as the primary goals of EU competition law, but as non-price factors of competition. Question a) thus can be answered in the affirmative. There is already some experience with markets that are divided into upstream and downstream markets, where the former consists of markets for some kind of data that is subsequently processed within the downstream markets and offered to customers as part of a service. This kind of understanding thus creates the background for platform decentralisation in EU competition law. Question b) thus can also be answered at least partially in the affirmative. On the contrary, there is little room for EU competition law to be used as a tool to break up existing social media platforms and turn the social media environment from a centralised model to a decentralised model in the form of a platform and “middleware” model. Such an approach would require a much more pervasive use of competition law tools than is currently accepted and could be only taken through legislation. Competition law, however, still may play a role as a guardian of decentralisation achieved through other means, mainly voluntary action. In particular, if platforms were to decentralise parts of their operation (e.g. in the form of content moderation) and let independent service operators provide additional services, EU competition law could in principle help maintain this state of affairs. While Question c) must be answered negatively, Question d) may be also answered in the affirmative. Acknowledgements This paper was created within the Charles University Grant Agency (“GAUK”) project no. 650120 “Regulation of harmful content online in the EU”. References [1] Aether (2021). Aether - How is it different from… [online]. [cit. 2021-12-22]. Availa ble at: [2] Bluesky (2021). Bluesky [online]. [cit. 2021-12-22]. Available at: [3] Decision of the European Commission of 14 May 2008, Facebook/WhatsApp , COMP/M.7217. [4] Decision of the European Commission of 14 May 2008, TomTom/Tele Atlas , COMP/M.4854. [5] Decision of the European Commission of 15 July 2004, VNU/VPP/JV , COMP/M.3512. [6] Decision of the European Commission of 19 February 2008, Thomson Corporation / Reuters Group , COMP/M.4726. [7] Decision of the European Commission of 23 February 2016, Sanofi/Google/DMI JV , COMP/M.7813.


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