Senate Judiciary Committee asks if Google has harmed competition in the digital ad market: The answer is YES!

Just one month after the House Judiciary Committee interrogated CEOs from Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon, the Senate Judiciary Committee will now tackle Google’s anti-competitive ad model through a hearing, “Stacking the Tech: Has Google harmed competition in online advertising?”

Google’s dominance of the digital advertising marketplace has devastated the journalism industry. The Wall Street Journal writes that “Google is the major force at every layer between advertisers and websites.” This has allowed them to siphon off billions in ad revenue that used to go to news publishers, more than tripling their ad revenue over the last decade to $135 billion while news publishers’ ad revenue has declined by 50 percent to just $14 billion. And Google is not finished. 

It announced earlier this year that it would phase out third-party cookies by 2022. Its own study found that eliminating third-party cookies for news publishers would result in “an average revenue loss of 62% with a median loss of 60%.” One of the witnesses at tomorrow’s hearing, David C. Dinielli, stated  in a report earlier this year titled, “Roadmap for a Digital Advertising Monopolization Case Against Google,” that this move would, “leav[e] Google with a virtual monopoly over digital advertising services for the open web.”

Google’s anti-competitive actions in the digital advertising marketplace have been clear for a long time. Following last month’s historic hearing in the House featuring Google’s and three other tech giants’ CEOs, we’re glad this critical issue is now getting attention from Congress, the Department of Justice, and states attorneys general.

The following is a statement from Laura Bassett, former Senior Politics Reporter for HuffPost who was laid off in January 2019, and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project:

We do not buy whatever Google’s excuses will be tomorrow. They are a culprit in the exploitation of the news industry’s advertising free-fall, which has ripple effects throughout the country from news deserts, political polarization, to the spread of fake news and disinformation. Google certainly holds the fate of the Fourth Estate in its hands. If there is no intervention, a reckoning is coming for the news industry. While journalists risk their lives for accurate reporting amid a global pandemic, forest fires, protests, and a looming, contentious presidential election, Google continues to put profits ahead of competition, and our democracy suffers. Tomorrow, we at the Save Journalism Project will be watching for our country’s leaders to step up and expose Google’s anti-competitive practices.