Quantcast
Connect with us

Australian watchdog wants a regulator for Google and Facebook

Published

on

Australia’s competition watchdog on Monday recommended tougher scrutiny and a new regulatory body to check the dominance of tech giants Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google in the country’s online advertising and news markets.

The recommendation, in a preliminary report on the U.S. firms’ market power, is being closely watched around the world as lawmakers wrestle with the powerful tech firms’ large and growing influence in public life, from privacy to publishing.

ADVERTISEMENT

It comes days after Australia passed laws forcing tech companies to help police access private user data, and amid growing concern from authorities worldwide about the giants’ commercial behavior and distribution of so-called “fake news”.

“When you get to a certain stage and you get market power, which both Google and Facebook have, with that comes special responsibilities and that means, also, additional scrutiny,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims told reporters in Sydney.

He said the companies’ enormous market share – Google has a 94 percent share of web searches in Australia – and opaque methods for ranking advertisements gave the firms the ability and incentive to favor their businesses over advertisers’.

“The idea of the regulator role would be to keep an eye on that and proactively bring some transparency,” he said, adding the two firms also had outsized influence over news distribution.

ADVERTISEMENT

Drafting the report had also spurred five investigations into possible consumer or privacy law breaches in Australia, Sims said, without disclosing which firms they concerned.

Facebook had no immediate response to the ACCC report, though in a submission to the regulator had said that its platform offers advertisers cheaper access to a big audience.

A Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the company will continue to work with the ACCC while the regulator prepares its final report due next June.

ADVERTISEMENT

The ACCC has said its recommendations are subject to change, but suggests handing the new regulator investigative powers to examine how the companies rank advertisements and news articles.

“It is potentially a game changer,” Margaret Simons, an associate professor of media at Monash University in Melbourne, said by phone, since it would bring the tech companies under a regulatory framework more typically applied to media firms.

“With the ‘if’ being whether or not governments act,” she said, adding that the ACCC’s work was being closely watched internationally.

ADVERTISEMENT

Australia’s government, which ordered the probe into the firms’ influence a year ago as part of wider media reforms said it would consider the ACCC’s final recommendations in June.

Traditional media companies in Australia including Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd and News Corp’s local arm – already squeezed by online rivals – welcomed the ACCC suggestions in separate statements on Monday.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook in SYDNEY; Additional reporting by Devika Syamnath in BENGALURU; Editing by Stephen Coates and Christopher Cushing

ADVERTISEMENT

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Ex-white nationalist issues horrifying warning Trump’s government is neglecting the ‘domestic extremism problem’

Published

on

Former white supremacist Christian Picciolini noted in an interview with MSNBC Sunday that the United States is dealing with a severe domestic terrorism problem, but that the Donald Trump administration is asleep at the wheel.

Since the El Paso shooting, there have been more than 30 thwarted mass shootings and at least two of those were directly related to domestic terrorism. Luckily state and local police were able to step in, and Americans have been more likely to warn law enforcement about possible attacks.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump goes off on Twitter rant about ‘My Stock Market’ at nearly 2 a.m. in France

Published

on

President Donald Trump has an early morning meeting Monday with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. He also has a full day of meeting with the G-7, but that wasn't his focus in the early morning hours.

"My Stock Market gains must be judged from the day after the Election (sic), November 9, 2016, where the Market went up big after the win, and because of the win. Had my opponent won, CRASH!" Trump tweeted Sunday night in the U.S., which was nearly 2 a.m. in France where the president is staying during the G-7 summit.

My Stock Market gains must be judged from the day after the Election, November 9, 2016, where the Market went up big after the win, and because of the win. Had my opponent won, CRASH!

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

‘What could possibly go wrong?’ MSNBC panel laughs at Trump stupidity on dropping a bomb to stop hurricanes

Published

on

An MSNBC panel couldn't help but laugh and joke at the news that President Donald Trump asked if hurricanes could be stopped with a nuclear bomb.

The incident reportedly took place after multiple hurricanes hit the U.S. numerous times. Axios reporter Jonathan Swan told MSNBC Sunday that scientists did research the question in 1961, but the conspiracy has persisted and that there is a factsheet dispelling the myth on the National Geographic's website.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
HELP US UNCOVER CORRUPTION!
close-link
close-image