Fb and Google focused in Australian media probe

Fb and Google focused in Australian media probe

In the US, lawmakers grilled Facebook, Google and Twitter last month over how foreign nationals used social media platforms to spread misinformation during the 2016 presidential election. In turn this has resulted in many companies sort of forced to play by their rules, because getting deranked from Google could mean losing a significant chunk of your visitors.

Australia's competition regulator has begun an inquiry into whether the influence of the United States tech giants Facebook and Google has harmed the media sector.

Facebook's and Google's emergence as key news discovery platforms as well as advertising mediums has troubled traditional media organizations for a while.

Silicon Valley tech giants would have to take some responsibility for the issues the media industry is now facing in Australia, with a decline in advertising spending, Senator Griff said.

It has been stated that the inquiry will hold the power to request information from these global social media giants and conduct the legal proceedings.

"This inquiry will mean they will no longer be able to claim, with a straight face, that their actions have all been fair play in an open competitive market, and that the problem lies exclusively with the traditional media business model".

The terms of reference issued by the treasurer include assessing the "extent to which platform service providers are exercising market power in commercial dealings with the creators of journalistic content and advertisers" and the impact of online services on the "level of choice and quality of news and digital content".

"As the media sector evolves, there are growing concerns that digital platforms are affecting traditional media's ability to fund the development of content", the ACCC's Mr Sims said.

The inquiry is being held under the Competition and Consumer Act of 2010, which means the ACCC can use its compulsory information gathering powers and hold hearings.

ACCC further proclaimed to check the impact of the business dealings of social networking sites on the Australian news media market. While "fake news" would be part of this discussion, it wouldn't be the main focus, the report said, quoting Sim. The ACCC is expected to produce a preliminary report early December 2018, with a final report due early June 2019.

A Google spokesman said, "We look forward to engaging with this process as relevant".

Digital advertising is considered more effective for ad agency clients because it is claimed it can more precisely target demographics and even individuals who reveal their consumer preferences through their browsing histories.

Media market analyst Roger Coleman of CCZ Australia also questioned the goal of the ACCC inquiry, telling The New Daily internet disruption of Australia's mainstream media was "the great attrition".