Australia to probe Facebook, Google over media disruption

3:38 pm on 4 December 2017

Australia's competition regulator said on Monday it would investigate whether Facebook and Google had disrupted the news media to the detriment of publishers and consumers.

Facebook and Google

Photo: AFP

Like their rivals globally, Australia's traditional media companies have been squeezed by online rivals, as advertising dollars have followed eyeballs to digital distributors such as Google, Facebook and Netflix.

The government ordered the probe as part of wider media reforms, amid growing concern for the future of journalism and the quality of news following years of declining profits and newsroom job cuts.

"We will examine whether platforms are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media content creators and advertisers," Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

Mr Sims said the commission would look closely at long-term trends and the effect of technology changes on competition in media and advertising.

The inquiry also would study how Facebook and Google operated to "fully understand their influence in Australia", he added.

The probe will have power to compulsorily demand information from businesses and hold hearings. It is due to make its final report in 18 months.

- Reuters / RNZ

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