Why Indian Start-ups Have Accused The Internet And Mobile Association Of India Of Spreading ‘Big Tech Propaganda’

Due to criticism by IAMAI of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance to introduce a new law for tackling Big Tech firms, Indian start-ups have accused the Internet and Mobile Association of India of spreading ‘big tech propaganda.’

There is a widening rift between some Indian start-ups and the industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). Prominent founders of some of the country’s new age businesses have accused the IAMAI of “promoting the views” of big tech companies such as Google and Meta and have called into question its organisational structure, which is led by representatives of such tech companies.

The tussle signals towards a growing divide between Indian start-ups and the Big Tech, with the former increasingly framing the debate as a ‘foreign versus local’ issue, irked by policies that they say are often imposed on them by the bigger companies.

The rift

The latest stand-off came after the IAMAI criticised the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance to introduce a new law for tackling Big Tech firms’ anti-competitive practices. “IAMAI is concerned that the recommendations in the Report (of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance) are neither targeted nor proportionate,” the industry body said in its submission, saying these would “stifle innovation” as well.

To curb anti-competitive practices in digital markets, last December, the panel proposed measures like having ex-ante regulations, which are meant to protect consumers by requiring companies to follow certain standards of behaviour, as opposed to post-ante regulations that can only punish an entiry after it has breached a law.

There were also recommendations for designating Big Tech entitites as “systemically important digital intermediaries” and then subjecting them to certain ex-ante provisions, and the suggestion for a new digital competition law. Further, it asked digital market entities to desist from “anti-steering”, “deep discounting”, “self preferencing”, “search & ranking preferencing” and other promotional practices that lead to consumers going for these companies in the market, impacting competition.

In its first-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, Meta revealed that Zuckerberg’s Metaverse has taken a $4 billion loss.

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