Facebook, Google face probe from Australian regulator over media impact

Facebook, Google face probe from Australian regulator over media impact

After the U.S. and Britain, Australia will now probe the impact of key digital platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter on media, journalism and advertising, including the spread of fake news, in the country.

Rod Sims, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chief, said the governing body "will study how digital platforms such as Facebook and Google operate to fully understand their influence in Australia".

Mr Sims "will have the power to obtain information during the inquiry which will make digital platforms more transparent and enable the ACCC to test whether a case can be made for further intervention or use of the ACCC's broader enforcement powers".

The launch of this inquiry is part of the Australian government's Broadcast and Content Reform package that aims to help support jobs and media diversity in the country.

Facebook and Google face a year-long investigation to be carried out by the competition watchdog, amid predictions the internet giants could soon account for almost 85 per cent of the world's digital advertising spending.

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

It is no secret that there are a handful of websites and services that dominate the web, like Google for search, and Facebook for social media.

"In the end, the inquiry should tell us if the market is being distorted and dominated, the fairness and need for better commercial terms for content providers, whether advertisers are getting a good deal and what the future holds with innovation and technological change".

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She said they're hosting the event earlier in the holiday season to avoid most of the hubbub around Christmas. Londonderry Mall is hosting other Silent Santa events on December 9 and 16.

Like their rivals globally, Australia's traditional media companies have been squeezed by online rivals, as advertising dollars have followed eyeballs to digital distributors such as Google, Facebook and Netflix Inc.

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.

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.

Google said in a statement, "We look forward to engaging with this process as relevant".

The consumer watchdog said it will be calling for public submissions soon.

A preliminary report into the issues is expected within 12 months, with a final report due early June 2019.

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

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