Australia To Crack Down On Google And Facebook’s Disruptive Media

The Australian government is the latest in a long line of  political bodies to advocate the importance in investigating concerns surrounding Facebook and Google. With sites like these adapting and growing so fast, it’s very difficult to keep up with so many changes and stay on top of any errors and potential threats. The probe ordered by the Australian government will be looking into media influence from both Google and their rival Facebook.

What’s The Real Problem?

The real question being asked is to whether or not Facebook and Google have disrupted the media to the detriment of consumers and publishers alike. Is there still a place for these people in society? Is the media we readily take in actively or subconsciously reliable? Australia’s more traditional news outlets are being run dry by the sheer about of people who have been sourcing their information and daily news from places like Netflix, Facebook and Google. Some people see this as a sign of the times and developments in society, however, when people are not aware of the negative impacts of such outlets – an entirely new problem arises.

The Australian Government’s Orders And Expert Opinion

The Australian government ordered a probe, supposedly due to a chain of wider media reforms, in the midst of growing concern for the future of people working in journalism. The quality and reliability of the news the general population is digesting is of huge worry. The rise of fake news is creating a larger atmosphere of unease surrounding journalism, after years of a steady decline in profits and newsroom employment cuts.

In a statement from the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) chairperson Rod Sims is quoted saying “We will examine whether platforms are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media content creators and advertisers.” The inquiry he mentions will also be seen to address how both Google and Facebook actually operate so we are able to “fully understand their influence in Australia”. In response to this a spokesperson from Google stated that “We look forward to engaging with this process as relevant.”

The Future Of Journalism

Peter Cox, an independent media analyst told Reuters when asked that “You could see this as a stepping stone towards another type of reform, such as tax.”. Cox said it is unclear which specific measures the competition regulator should and even could advise to the government. If it does find that the government was highly anticompetitive, what would be done? The answers are still unclear.

Many different jurisdictions around the globe are trying to figure out a way to deal with technology giants who have global operations. It is not an easy feat for these jurisdictions, one of which being the European Union. With the soon implementation of the Australian government’s probe, we will soon have the power to demand the right to previously secretive information from businesses and hold hearings. The outcome of this report will be finalised in 18 months.

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