ACCC to scrutinise impact of Facebook, Google on media, advertising

ACCC to scrutinise impact of Facebook, Google on media, advertising

The Federal Government has directed the ACCC to examine Facebook and Google's effect on media and advertising.

In the USA, lawmakers grilled Facebook, Google and Twitter last month over how foreign nationals used social media platforms to spread misinformation during the 2016 presidential election.

Google and Facebook will be subject to an inquiry around the impact of digital platforms on news media in Australia.

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

The regulator will be looking into whether or not the practices by Google and Facebook has disrupted the media market to the detriment of both publishers and consumers.

The Turnbull government has requested for the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to begin an investigation into Facebook and Google's power in the media landscape.

"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. "Advertising expenditure in print newspapers has been in decline for a number of years".

The social media giant has also been slapped with a €150,000 fine by the French data protection watchdog for the way the company targeted advertising and tracked users.

Details on the terms of reference for the inquiry are available here.

The ACCC's inquiry falls under Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act (2010), enabling the regulator to compulsorily obtain information and hold hearings to determine competition levels within a market. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, as per reliable sources, will draft and finalize its report within eighteen months of the investigation.

The ACCC's preliminary report is due at the beginning of December next year, says Engadget, while the final report won't be released until June 2019 at the earliest. While "fake news" would be part of this discussion, it wouldn't be the main focus, the report said, quoting Sim.

"We look forward to engaging with this process as relevant", a Google spokesman told Reuters. While the social giant announced a host of new hirings at the company to assemble a team of music industry professionals, it still needs all the necessary music publisher/society licensing deals with the industry.

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