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The Australian government may soon crack down on Facebook and Google

The Australian government may soon crack down on Facebook and Google
[Photo: wayX/Pexels]

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a new report yesterday that had some harsh findings for Google and Facebook. The government authority recommended that a new watchdog be formed for the sole purpose of watching over the internet giants.

The 374-page document looked into the growth of the digital platforms, and made 11 recommendations. The organization found that the two companies have significant market power in terms of news discovery and digital advertising–and have, up until now, operated in an almost completely unfettered fashion. The report enumerated many concerns about how the companies collect data without consumers realizing.

Overall, the preliminary findings focused on how the online giants weren’t transparent enough and that regulatory changes needed to be made. It writes that both companies have the “ability and incentive” to favor their own business interests, which is troubling given the two’s immense power. With this, the regulator recommended that a series of new rules be set up to keep better watch over their growing power.

The ACCC’s press release writes:

Google and Facebook are now the dominant gateways between news media businesses and audiences, and this can reduce the brand value and recognition of media businesses. In addition traditional media businesses and in particular, traditional print media businesses have lost advertising revenue to digital platforms. This has threatened the viability of business models of the print media and their ability to monetise (sic.) journalism.

Of course, these are just recommendations and nothing has been set in place yet. And both Google and Facebook will likely fight tooth and nail against any big regulatory changes that would hinder their media domination. But as more governments become wise to the growing Google/Facebook consolidation, we’re likely (and hopefully!) going to see more moves like this.

You can read the full report here.

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