Ahead of Senate Hearing, Google Should be Held Accountable for Wiping Out the News Industry

Ahead of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee hearing on big tech’s self-preferencing, news publishers nationwide are being decimated by Google’s monopolization of the online marketplace.

Google has made unilateral changes to its platform in the name of privacy that in reality created advantages for itself over its competitors and have harmed news publishers. The most recent of these moves was Google’s announcement to phase out third party cookies and cross-site tracking capabilities on its Chrome browser. A study Google conducted in 2019 found that eliminating third-party cookies would reduce digital ad revenue for news publishers by an average of 62%. Google has also acknowledged that cookies placed by Google Analytics would be unaffected, meaning Google’s massive data collection will continue unabated and eliminating third-party cookies will only impact its competitors. 

In an op-ed for AdExchanger, Paul Bannister, co-founder of CafeMedia reminds readers of the grave danger of the journalism industry — “Small and large local news organizations, already plagued by issues, will be hit hard by the death of the cookie.” That will mean more papers close, more journalists out of work, and more communities going without local news coverage. 

According to Laura Bassett, former Senior Politics Reporter for HuffPost who was laid off in January and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project – “The journalism industry is facing an existential crisis. Google has a history of making changes to its platform that gives it the advantage over its competitors. Many have harmed news publishers, from changing Incognito mode to make it easier to evade subscription limits, to requiring publishers to use AMP to rank higher in Search results, and now eliminating third-party cookies. I’m glad Congress, the DOJ, and state attorneys general are examining Google’s anti-competitive practices at the expense of news publishers. I just hope it’s not too late for the journalism industry or our democracy.”