The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced recently that it would probe whether Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Google had played a role in the advertisements from traditional media. The Australian government sanctioned has competitor regulator to carry out an investigation into the digital platform.
The traditional media publishers and consumers claim that they have been squeezed by their online rivals as the advertising dollars are reverting to the digital distributors including Facebook, Netflix, and Google. Following the complaints, the government ordered for the probe as part of the media reforms. The ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, stated that they would scrutinize the impacts of various digital platforms in media, journalism, advertising, and the overall quality of news.
Since the inquiry is officially directed by the government, the regulator will have the ability to compulsorily access the information on the gathering powers and hold hearings. According to Sims, the ACCC will openly study the digital platforms to understand how they influence media in Australia. Although the focus is on the giant companies such as Facebook and Google, other podiums including Twitter will also be examined during the exercise.
The probe will largely focus on the market power and false information while ‘fake news’ will be not part of the discussion. Furthermore, the inquiry will study how advertisers get the full range of information including the audience metrics and other relevant data. The impact of tech giants on how the quality of news is selected and made available to the public, the contemporary issues such as the innovations and technological change would also be considered.
Facebook’s spokeswoman stated that the main concern of the platform is to connect people within the society and sharing of news and entertainment is just a small part of the content that is shared on their podium. Facebook added that they take the role of media ecosystem seriously and they are ready for the probe.
It’s estimated that internet advertising in Australia accounts for about 50% of the total amount spent on advertising and Facebook and Google are the major benefactors of the development.