The nation’s competitors regulator said Monday it has been directed by the federal authorities to analyze whether or not web corporations are hurting customers, content material creators and advertisers.
As in lots of different international locations, Australia’s media trade has been upended by the rise of digital platforms. Print newspapers have for years suffered declines in promoting revenues as corporations shift their spending on-line, a lot of it to tech giants like Fb and Google.
“Because the media sector evolves, there are rising issues that digital platforms are affecting conventional media’s capacity to fund the event of content material,” mentioned Rod Sims, the chairman of the Australian Competitors and Shopper Fee.
A Fb spokeswoman mentioned the corporate is wanting ahead to “a radical inquiry into the Australian media market.”
“Whereas information is barely a small a part of the content material shared on our companies, we take our position within the media ecosystem very critically and make investments considerably in merchandise that assist publishers,” she mentioned.
Google did not instantly reply to a request for remark.
Australia’s inquiry is simply the newest probe into the rising position of worldwide web corporations.
Fb and Google have come below fireplace in different international locations for his or her outsize affect within the media panorama, with critics questioning the tech corporations’ efforts to police the content material shared on their platforms.
Within the U.S., lawmakers grilled Fb (FB, Tech30), Google (GOOG) and Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) last month over how international nationals used social media platforms to unfold misinformation throughout the 2016 presidential election.
Fb particularly is dealing with questions within the U.S. over adverts a Russian troll farm bought throughout the presidential election. In Britain, it has been asked for information on any adverts bought by Russian-linked Fb accounts round June’s normal election and final 12 months’s Brexit referendum.
Google also found itself in the crosshairs of the U.S. Congress over Russian-bought adverts on its platform meant to unfold misinformation and divisions in America earlier than the 2016 presidential election.
In Australia, the probe seems to be centered on the tech giants’ impact on market competitors. However it can additionally study their influence on the nation’s information trade.
“By our inquiry, the ACCC will look carefully on the influence of digital platforms on the extent of selection and high quality of stories and content material being produced by Australian journalists,” Sims mentioned.
The fee says it can publish a preliminary report in a 12 months’s time.
CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First printed December four, 2017: 2:38 AM ET