Australia Launches Inquiry Into Google, Facebook 'Net Impact

05 December, 2017, 02:34 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Australian media watchdog to investigate Google and Facebook

"This inquiry will be important as it will expose the tactics search engines and social media platforms have employed to hoard advertising dollars, the conditions they have forced media organisations to accept and the part they have played in the gradual erosion of the media's bottom line", Senator Griff said.

Global internet platforms Google and Facebook will be coerced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to reveal all their commercial secrets.

The inquiry is being held under Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act (2010), giving the ACCC the ability to gather information on a compulsory basis, as well as hold hearings to assess the level of competition in a market.

Google and Facebook have been hit with much criticism in other countries due to their large influence across the media landscape with their critics question the efforts of the tech companies to police content shares on the platform of both.

"We will also consider the impact of information asymmetry between digital platform providers and advertisers and consumers".

Now, many other countries want to ensure similar problems don't crop up on their shores as well.

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How are tech giants affecting the news and ads we consume?

The ACCC is now undertaking inquiries into the supply of retail electricity, the supply of and demand for wholesale gas in Australia, the supply of insurance in Northern Australia, residential mortgage products, and the dairy industry. According to Sims, the ACCC will openly study the digital platforms to understand how they influence media in Australia.

The two will also capture the majority of growth in forecast digital growth in the next few years, further consolidating their market power across the globe, which the agency said represented "exceedingly bad news" for their competitors.

The commission says it will publish a preliminary report in a year's time.

The investigation could be "a stepping stone towards another type of reform, such as tax", Cox said.

"We look forward to engaging with this process as relevant", a Google spokesperson was quoted as saying by Reuters. While in Britain, Facebook has been asked to give up information on any advertisements purchased by accounts on the social media platform that were Russian linked around the general election last June and the 2016 Brexit referendum. Facebook added that they take the role of media ecosystem seriously and they are ready for the probe.

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