Australia to scrutinise Facebook, Google


Sydney, Dec 4: After the US and Europe, now Australia will examine the impact of prominent digital platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter on media, journalism and advertising, including the spread of fake news, in the country.

As per the report in The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday, the government has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to scrutinise key digital platforms.

“The ACCC goes into this inquiry with an open mind and will study how digital platforms such as Facebook and Google operate to fully understand their influence in Australia,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

Social media platforms and digital content aggregators will be under scanner.

“We believe our information-gathering powers capture them even if they’re located offshore because the test is that they do business in Australia,” Sims added.

The probe will mainly focus on  market power and misleading information. A initial report will be prepared by December next year.

While “fake news” would be part of this discussion, it wouldn’t be the main focus, the report said, quoting Sim.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company is looking  forward to a thorough probe into the Australian media market.

“Whilst the sharing of news and entertainment content is only a small part of the content shared on our services, we take our role in the media ecosystem very seriously and invest significantly in products that support publishers,” the spokeswoman asserted.

In Britain, Facebook and Twitter have agreed to share details with the government officials on Russia’s interference in the Brexit referendum by using their platforms.

Facebook and Twitter will share those posts with the House of Commons media watchdog, news agency IANS reported.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has also accused Russia of interfering in the elections and creating fake stories.

In the US, Facebook, Twitter and Google are already facing intense fake news scrutiny after shocking revelation about the presence of Russian political ads, tweets and posts on their platforms during the presidential polls last year.

Wefornews Bureau 


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