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Nine Group Calls For New Controls on Google, Facebook

Nine Entertainment, which now includes the Fairfax empire of Australian news organisations, including the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age, has backed calls for establishment of an Australia-wide government-controlled regime to regulate online news services run by organisations  such as Google and Facebook.

It suggests that such a regime – which is hotly opposed by Google and other online groups – could best be administered by the existing Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) .

Nine’s submission is among more than 80 submitted to the ACCC after the Government called for submissions on what should be done about possible misuse of market power by digital players, including Facebook and Google.

At the time, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said it was clear that Google and Facebook had too much market power, and a greater level of regulatory oversight was justified.

He added that the likes of Facebook “favour their own business interests”
through their market power and presence across multiple markets, and that a regulatory authority should be tasked to investigate and report on whether digital platforms are engaging in “discriminatory conduct”.

Says the Nine submission: “Google and Facebook are significant advertisers and distributors of Australian news and entertainment content, and given their substantial market power, Nine submits that new regulatory rules are required to address these market imbalances and protect the public good of news media and Australian content.”

Nine has indicated that it backs the ACCC’s recommendations on search engine choices, an ombudsman for digital platforms and verification of metrics.

Google in February fired in  its own response to the ACCC’s case, denying that intervention was needed.

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