Facebook & Google under Investigation in Australia for Disruption to the News Media Market

As the future of journalism and the widespread prevalence of ‘fake news’ and misinformation become matters of increased relevance, with social media platforms in particular facing mounting scrutiny and blame for facilitating this trend, Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), have announced that they will be pursuing an investigation into the role that Facebook and Google have played in disrupting the news media market to the detriment of publishers and consumers.

The probe into the actions of Facebook and Google, announced on Monday 4th December, forms part of a wider media reform initiative being undertaken by the Australian government, which was itself brought about due to growing concern for the future of journalism and the downfall of quality news sources as profits decline and newsrooms around the globe face damaging cuts and layoffs.

“We will examine whether platforms are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media content creators and advertisers,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

The inquiry also would study how Facebook and Google operated to “fully understand their influence in Australia”, he added.

A Google spokesman simply stated, “We look forward to engaging with this process as relevant.” Facebook on the other hand reportedly did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.
We will of course endeavour to keep you updated on any new development as the investigation progresses, but for now there is little else of note to say on this matter. A preliminary report is expected to emerge by the latter part of next year.

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