"Google is in serious trouble," Says Antitrust Expert and Former Senate Judiciary Counsel

A recording of today’s call is available here

On a press call today, former General Counsel to the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee and former attorney at the Justice Department Antitrust Division Seth Bloom said “Google is in serious trouble with respect to antitrust in the United States,” and freelance writer and editor Nick Charles, and Save Journalism Project co-founders Laura Bassett and John Stanton outlined the staggering impact of Google and Facebook on the journalism industry:

  • Over 7,200 media professionals have lost their jobs in 2019 so far; 
  • Newsrooms have declined in size by 45% over the past 10 years; and 
  • 60% of U.S. counties have no local newspaper. 

After stabilizing in the three years following the global economic collapse in 2007-08, advertising revenue has consistently dropped nearly $2 billion per year in each of the last seven years. Over that same period, the tech giants’ advertising revenue exploded, with Google’s growing by $80 billion and Facebook’s by $50 billion. These tech giants are destroying the economic sustainability of the journalism industry. Without swift congressional action, Google and Facebook will continue to starve the journalism industry by siphoning off its ad revenue.  Learn more here. 

Seth Bloom, former General Counsel to the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee for 14 years and former trial attorney at the Justice Department Antitrust Division, said, “Google’s anticompetitive conduct and abuse of its search engine monopoly threatens fair and free competition in many industries, from journalism, to ad tech, to local search, among others.  Google’s anticompetitive conduct is currently under close scrutiny by federal and state antitrust enforcers, and Google faces substantial risk of a major monopolization case brought by these enforcers of a type not seen since the Microsoft case 20 years ago.”

Nick Charles, freelance writer and editor, said, “It’s not simply the loss of jobs and living-wage opportunities for skilled professionals to practice their craft, it’s also the eroding of one of the key pillars of our democracy. Journalists inform, illuminate, comfort, expose and call to account; if not us, then who?”

Laura Bassett, laid-off HuffPost politics reporter and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, said, “As political attacks on the news media escalate, and tech monopolies siphon off our revenue streams, it’s never been more necessary for journalists to link arms to fight for the health and future of our industry. One or two companies should not have the power to cripple the free press in the United States.”

John Stanton, laid-off former D.C. bureau chief of BuzzFeed and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, said, “There’s been countless stories on how newspapers have had to gut themselves or shut down completely. Companies like Facebook and Google are able to make unilateral decisions on their own that are questionable, and end up putting a lot of strain on the news industry in particular. It’s incumbent upon Congress to do something. If not it will cripple our democracy and hurt American communities.”

Journalism in America is facing an existential threat from the monopolistic control of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Big tech’s dominance over the digital advertising market and their unrivaled capacity to monetize its platforms are having drastic effects on journalism as a whole.