WATCH: Bipartisan Message from Congress is Clear: Enforce Antitrust Law and Stop Google from Harming Journalism
“You’re using their data for your benefit, not for theirs or their readers, and you’re driving them out of business.” –Sen. Blumenthal
Even in these incredibly divisive times, one issue has united the parties in both chambers of Congress: outrage about anti-competitive actions by the tech giants. Over the past several months, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have grilled CEOs and executives from the tech giants, particularly Google. And concern is high about Google’s negative impact on the journalism industry. In light of this bipartisan support and a continued evolving crisis within the industry, the Save Journalism Project released a video that highlights the “best of” the hearings that expose the unilateral, monopolistic control of big tech.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), noted that Google collects so much data through Search, its Chrome browser, Android operating system, and operating the system that buys and sells ads on newspaper websites, that it enables advertisers to target a newspaper’s readers on a different platform at a lower cost, which is “driving them out of business.” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), highlighted the “major conflict of interest” of Google running the ad marketplace while also acting as the agent for both the buyers and sellers of the advertising space. And Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) underscored the hypocrisy at the core of Google’s decision to eliminate third party cookies on privacy grounds–a move that Google’s own study showed will reduce news outlet ad revenue by 62%–when got Google CEO Sundar Pichai to agree that “they have other ways of collecting the data” that comes from cookies.
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 applaud this bipartisan agreement that Google and other tech giants are exploiting their immense market power and concerns about the negative impact on the journalism industry. The evidence is clear: Google is using its vast data harvesting capabilities and dominance of the digital ad marketplace to profit off newspapers’ content and readers. As Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner said, ‘We must ensure that our antitrust laws are applied to meet the needs of our country and its consumers.’ We look forward to learning just how Rep. Sensenbrenner and his colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee recommend those laws being enforced to defend the journalism industry from the anticompetitive actions of Google