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Australian anti-trust watchdog challenges market dominance of Google and Facebook in advertising and online news

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) submitted its report on Digital Platforms Inquiry earlier today in which it recommended limiting the market dominance of Facebook and Google to promote competition, strengthening the Australian Privacy Act, and giving Australians greater power over how their information is collected and used, amongst 23 recommendations. If implemented, these steps will set a global precedent for checking Big Tech’s global oligopoly over advertising and online news. The Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the government intended to “lift the veil” on the closely guarded algorithms the firms use to collect and monetise users’ data, and accepted the ACCC’s “overrising conclusion that there is a need for reform”, Reuters reported. Drawing attention to Facebook and Google’s market dominance, he said that the two companies accounted for 61 per cent of online advertising revenue between them, despite sourcing their content from media organisations, ABC reported. To no one’s surprise, Google and Facebook have opposed tighter regulation and said that ACCC had underestimated the level of competition for online advertising. Traditional media owners have backed the reform, as per Reuters. This inquiry was directed by the then Treasurer Scott Morrison on December 4, 2017. It looked into the effect of search engines, social media platforms and digital content aggregation platforms on competition in media and advertising. The preliminary report was released on December 10, 2018. ACCC is the Australian anti-trust watchdog. The proposals will be subjected to a 12-week public consultation before the government acts on the…

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