It is time to break up Massive Tech’s media monopoly
It’s no secret that Big Tech’s news and information monopoly has created a huge problem for news publishers and content creators in the United States
Google News, Facebook News, and similar news aggregator sites drive a lot of traffic to their respective sites by presenting a continuous flow of links to articles from thousands of publishers.
These aggregator websites, in turn, are able to monetize their own advertising and related products – all without proper compensation from publishers for their material. As a result, the publishing industry has relied on life support for over a decade.
To make our news and information industry fairer and stronger, the US must strengthen our antitrust laws and crack down on these monopolies. Given the financial pressures on local newspapers, it is vital that the media companies who own the newspapers receive fair and equitable compensation for their content so that they can continue to provide an important service to their communities.
To this end, stricter standards for the use of content should be established and a legal basis should be created so that news publishers can bargain collectively with these online platforms without fear of their content being excluded from the platform.
Indeed, despite the tremendous revenue that Google and Facebook due to their news and information monopoly – because these digital platforms are the main source of news for 86 percent the American – current copyright and antitrust laws in the United States do not require publishers to receive compensation. It also doesn’t provide any real legal basis for news publishers to bargain collectively with these online platforms.
This doesn’t have to be the case. Cable operators who were once in a similar situation with networks now Pay networks for their content after not doing this before.
Note that in October 2020, Google parent company Alphabet created a platform Google showcase, a $ 1 billion investment in financial partnerships with news publishers. However, the terms of the compensation are set by Alphabet, not the government or an outside arbitrator, which leaves publishers and creators still subject to Alphabet’s terms and price.
If these big tech conglomerates refuse to act sensibly, the federal government and Congress must be safe.
Since 2018, Congress has continuously circulated a bipartisan antitrust law to address this issue, which was just reintroduced by Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharFTC revises Facebook antitrust lawsuit after initial setback Non-partisan group of legislators urges Biden to ensure journalists safe passage from Afghanistan Hillicon Valley: Senators want answers to biometric data collection from Amazon | House members publish companion invoice for app stores | Google Files Lawsuit To Dismiss Ohio Lawsuit MORE (D-Minn.) And John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.). The Journalism Competition and Conservation Act would create a level playing field by giving publishers the opportunity to negotiate with online content providers such as Alphabet and Facebook.
On the positive side, we will see progress soon. on Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission – now spearheaded by Big tech critic Lina KhanLina KhanFTC revises Facebook antitrust lawsuit after initial setback Hillicon Valley: Feds Expected to Reveal New Strategy in Facebook Cartel War Senators Call For FTC Investigation Of Tesla’s Autopilot MORE – in a new complaint alleged that Facebook was an illegal monopoly, accusing the social media company of buying up potential competitors – WhatsApp and Instagram – or blocking their access to the platform.
And there have been numerous in the past few months antitrust hearings in Congress, which asked CEOs of companies like Alphabet and Facebook about their tactics of essentially pushing competitors to either accept takeovers or be destroyed.
It should be noted that there are precedents for antitrust proceedings in courts in other countries. In January 2021, the French antitrust authorities fined Alphabet after it passed an a EU-wide copyright reform Requiring platforms to pay for excerpts of published content or to be brought to court for copyright infringement.
Alphabet initially responded by no longer displaying any French published snippets along with the links until a French competition watchdog brought the matter to court. Alphabet lost her calling and had to negotiate compensation to French publishers.
Ultimately, Alphabet and Facebook have found their way $ 182 billion and almost $ 86 billion, or sales in 2020. In the meantime, the news publishing industry, which Facebook and Google News have been able to use, is stable Reject for over a decade.
As the world of news and information is constantly changing, so must antitrust and antimonopoly laws.
And if companies like Alphabet and Facebook don’t recognize this by making meaningful changes to their practices – which they haven’t done before – the federal government urgently needs to step in to make news and information a freer and fairer industry.
Douglas E. Schoen is a political advisor to President Clinton and the 2020 presidential campaign of Michael BloombergMichael Bloomberg Democrats can continue to win by uniting progressives and moderates. Budget package next MORE. His new book is “The End of Democracy? Russia and China on the advance and America in retreat. “