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Facebook Hits Back At “Unprecedented” ACCC Report

Facebook has slammed the ACCC’s preliminary report, calling the regulator’s proposals for digital platforms “unprecedented” and warning they will not address digital advertising concerns.

This is Facebook’s latest response to the ACCC’s preliminary report.

The ACCC report states that tech companies’ lack of transparency regarding their rankings and algorithms raise concerns of favouritism of particular brands or businesses.

Facebook and Google have both denied their algorithms work in this way and state that a regulator is unnecessary and premature.

The social media kingpin criticised the ACCC for misunderstanding “how advertising is supplied and delivered” on its pages and for conflating Facebook with Google, a search engine platform.

Samantha Knox, Facebook’s associate general counsel for competition, spoke to reporters and stated the proposals were “unprecedented” and could negatively affect Australian consumers and businesses.

In addition to claiming to not see itself as an “essential” news channel, the social media behemoth added it did not accept that regulation would promote sustainable journalism.

“A lot of the regulatory measures that have been proposed are not effectively targeted at the challenge that the news ecosystem here in Australia is experiencing,” said Mia Garlick, head of public policy at Facebook ANZ.

“Algorithm transparency isn’t going to help with those monetisation challenges that we are trying to work towards.”

Facebook also alleged that the report is unfairly stating the growth in digital advertising expenditure comes at the expense of print media.

“Digital platforms like Facebook have grown the market for advertising,” it argued.

“Facebook helped propel that growth with an unprecedented level of investment and innovation for the benefit of users and advertisers.”

Many Australian businesses and industry bodies, including Nine Group, support the ACCC’s proposals for regulation of news and advertising rankings.

The ACCC’s final report on the issue is expected to land in early June.

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