Australia to now scrutinise Facebook, Google

Australia to now scrutinise Facebook, Google

Australia to now scrutinise Facebook, Google

The impact of Google and Facebook across the media industry is being scrutinized in Australia. He added that the commission will approach the investigation, "with an open mind and will study how digital platforms such as Facebook and Google operate to fully understand their influence in Australia".

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will examine whether the pair, along with other internet giants, are misusing their market power to push traditional media outlets out of the advertising market, and cash in on the work of journalists without paying for the privilege.

Media-buying agency GroupM expects Facebook and Google to consolidate their domination of online advertising, and control almost 85 per cent of all online advertising - outside China - this financial year.

The Australian government ordered the inquiry in September, as part of a larger media law reform effort, brought on by concerns about the state and quality of journalism in the country, where 2,000 media jobs have been cut since 2011.

However, Peter Cox, an independent media analyst, told Reuters that it was unclear what measures the competition regulator might suggest taking if it does find that the country's media industry is "increasingly anti-competitive".

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. ACCC further proclaimed to check the impact of the business dealings of social networking sites on the Australian news media market.

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He added that the inquiry undertaken would also study the workings of these global competitors in order to "fully understand their influence in Australia".

"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 inquiry will be held under a provision of the Competition Act that gives the ACCC wide-ranging powers, including compulsory information gathering.

It will soon be releasing an issues paper, before completing a preliminary report by the end of next year.

Those deals are said to be costing Facebook hundreds of millions. A final report from the probe is expected in June 2019.

"We look forward to a thorough inquiry into the Australian media market".

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