The UK is setting up a new watchdog for Google, Facebook and other tech giants.

Britain’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport says the new regulator, the Digital Markets Unit, will “govern the behaviour of platforms that currently dominate the market, such as Google and Facebook… to ensure consumers and small businesses aren’t disadvantaged”.

It comes after the UK Competition and Markets Authority found existing laws are not effective.

“Our new, pro-competition regime for digital markets will ­ensure consumers have choice, and mean smaller firms aren’t pushed out,” Business Secretary Alok Sharma said.

He acknowledges that the big online platforms bring “huge benefits for businesses and society”, but “the dominance of just a few big tech companies is leading to less innovation, higher advertising prices and less choice and control for consumers”.

The tech giants will also be forced to comply with a new statutory code will to make them “more transparent about the services they provide and how they are using consumers’ data”.

The UK Government says consumers will be able to choose whether to see personalised advertising.

The new regulator is expected to have powers to “suspend, block and reverse decisions of tech giants”, ordering them to take certain actions and imposing fines as well.

The new code could see online platforms forced to offer fairer terms to news publications.

Just like in Australia, there have been calls for Facebook and Google to pay media organisations for the content that appears on their search pages and news feeds.

Facebook has announced it will launch a ‘Facebook News’ service in the UK, which will feature content both from traditional news media and some original reporting.