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The Australian government is reportedly investigating tech juggernauts, Google and Facebook, for their role in disrupting the news media in the country. This inquiry, started by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), will examine how new digital platforms are affecting Australian media and advertising markets.
The ACCC announced on Monday that they will explore both the positive and negative impact of these social platforms in the hopes of determining whether Australians benefit from them or not.
“Through our inquiry, the ACCC will look closely at the impact of digital platforms on the level of choice and quality of news and content being produced by Australian journalists,” said ACCC chairman, Rod Sims.
Sims also said in the statement that the probe will not be biased, keeping an open mind in their study of how Facebook and Google operate in Australia. The organization will reportedly look into the longer-term trends and how technological change affects competition in media and advertising.
According to the chairman, the ACCC investigation will also explore the impact of “information asymmetry” between digital platform providers and advertisers and consumers.
The government’s decision to investigate Google and Facebook comes in the wake of poor profits and a decline in the number of newspapers across the country. Latest ACCC merger reviews have revealed that most advertisers forgo traditional print newspapers for marketing their brand in favor of digital media. Both Google and Facebook, as well as other firms, will have to cooperate with the Australian government as part of the inquiry, with possible hearings being set in the near future.
While Google has yet to respond to the ACCC’s announcement, a Facebook spokesperson assured that the company will fully cooperate.
“We look forward to a thorough inquiry into the Australian media market.” He said.
The ACCC will reportedly release a preliminary report in December 2018, followed by a full report in June 2019.
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