Australian Government orders inquiry into Facebook and Google’s power in local media market

Australia's competition watchdog will investigate Google and Facebook's power on the local media market

Google and Facebook’s power in the Australian media market will be the subject of an investigation by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC).

The inquiry, which was ordered by the Federal Government, will investigate the effect digital platform providers are having on competition in media and advertising services markets.

The inquiry will examine “digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content aggregation platforms”.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims, said: “We will examine whether platforms are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media content creators and advertisers.”

“The ACCC will look closely at longer-term trends and the effect of technological change on competition in media and advertising.

“We will also consider the impact of information asymmetry between digital platform providers and advertisers and consumers,” said Sims.

The inquiry is a response to growing concerns that Facebook, Google and other digital platforms are affecting traditional media providers ability to invest and fund the development of content.

The inquiry will also examine the impact of digital platforms on the quality of news content being produced by journalists, a subject which is also the subject of a Senate select committee on the Future of Public Journalism, which is due to present its report in February 2018.

The ACCC plans to hear from content creators, mainstream and niche media outlets and operators, platform providers, advertisers, journalists, consumers and small business interest groups with a preliminary report expected in December 2018. The final report in scheduled for June 2019.

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