REACTION: Google’s Desperate Cookie Delay Leaves Journalism Industry Hanging

This morning, Google announced that implementation of their widely criticized plan to capture even more of the advertising market, FLoC, would be delayed for another two years.  But Google needs to kill FLoC outright – two more years of uncertainty, to only then try to grab what they haven’t already taken for themselves, leaves publishers, advertisers, and journalists hanging dangerously while Google tries to convince everyone they’re not doing anything wrong.   

“Google has already taken so much from journalists,” said Nick Charles, spokesperson for the Save Journalism Project and managing director of Word In Black, a collaborative of 10 Black-owned media outlets.  “They need to kill this once and for all.  They’ve seen how much people are opposed to FLoC, they’ve seen the regulatory and legislative blowback, and they know they have to stop.  But instead, they’re going to drag this out for another two years, leaving the industry hanging.  In some ways, two more years is just cruel – how is anyone supposed to run a news organization with Google’s indecisiveness hanging over them?” 

This move comes after a wide range of people and companies impacted by Google’s enormous advertising machine have been fighting back since FLoC was announced.  Journalists and publishers would be impacted the most, with Google itself producing a study in 2019 that showed eliminating third-party cookies would reduce ad revenue for news publishers by an average of 62%. 

Google has also seen a number of legislative and regulatory efforts intended to rein in their power.  Yesterday, and throughout the night, Congress marked up five bills that would have helped news outlets protect themselves from Big Tech in various ways.  And just this week, regulators in Europe launched an anti-trust probe of Google for their plan to eliminate cookies.