International Regulators Take Aggressive Action Against Google and Facebook to Protect News Outlets; Urgent Action Needed in the United States

Strong action by international regulators is forcing Google and Facebook to compensate news outlets for using their content. French regulators recently forced Google to pay a licensing fee to news outlets to use their content on Google pages. The UK Competition and Markets Authority held that the profit that Google extracts from the digital advertising market “is consistent with the exploitation of market power.” And just today, Australian regulators announced that they would require Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for using their content. Australia’s Treasurer John Frydenburg said, “this is a battle worth fighting. We believe this is crucial for the future viability of our media sector.” 

Many of the details of these actions remain to be worked out. And it is clear that even these important first steps to rein in the destruction of the journalism industry are not sufficient to solve the long term challenges posed by the monopolistic power of the tech giants. But we applaud these aggressive steps and urge similar action in the United States. We have joined the World Wide Web consortium to call on Google to delay implementing its planned phase out of third-party cookies, which its own study said would reduce ad revenue for news outlets by an average of 62%. This is a good place for U.S. regulators to start.

John Stanton, former D.C. bureau chief of BuzzFeed and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, calls on the U.S. to take action, “International regulators are showing the way by forcing Google and Facebook to provide meaningful compensation to news outlets for using their content. There are many ongoing investigations of Google and Facebook in the United States right now and in order to ensure long term viability in the news industry and secure journalism’s essential position in our country., we need U.S. commitment to enact fundamental reforms to the online advertising market. Without it, local news outlets that are hanging on by a thread, will continue to have big tech wring them dry. We need urgent actions from U.S. regulators to protect news outlets before it’s too late for the journalism industry in America.”