Lawmakers on Friday debated an antitrust bill that would give news publishers the right to bargain collectively with online platforms like Facebook and Google, putting attention on a topic. Export is aimed at cutting off the power of Big Tech.
At a hearing organized by the House’s antitrust subcommittee, Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, emerged as a leading voice in the advocacy industry. He took a different path from his tech counterparts, pointing to a power imbalance between publishers and technology platforms. Newspaper advertising revenue plummeted to $ 14.3 billion in 2018 from $ 49.4 billion in 2005, while advertising revenue at Google skyrocketed to $ 116 billion from 6.1, he said. billion USD.
“Although the news helps search engines, news organizations are often not compensated or at best low compensation for using it,” said Mr. Smith. “The problems that cover the press today are partly due to the lack of fundamental competition in the search market and advertising technology controlled by Google.”
The hearing is the second in a series planned by the subcommittee to set the stage for creating stronger antitrust laws. In October, a subcommittee led by Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat of Rhode Island, announced the results of a 16-month investigation into the power of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. The report accuses the companies of monopolistic behavior.
This week, the two top committee leaders, Cicilline and Representative Ken Buck, Colorado’s Republican Party, introduced the Competition Conservation and Press Act. The bill aims to give smaller news publishers the ability to come together to bargain with online platforms for higher fees for distributing their content. The bill was also introduced in the Senate by Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota and chair of that house’s antitrust subcommittee.
Global interest is growing about the decline of local news organizations, which have become dependent on online platforms to distribute their content. Australia recently proposed a law allowing news publishers to haggle with Google and Facebook, and lawmakers in Canada and the UK are considering similar steps.
Mr. Cicilline said, “Although I don’t see this law as a more meaningful substitute for online competition – including structural measures to solve fundamental problems in the marketplace – we are clearly we have to do something in the short term to save credible journalism before it is lost forever. ”
Google, though not a witness at the hearing, issued a statement in response to Mr. Smith’s planned testimony, defending its business practices and disparaging Microsoft’s motives, Bing search engine is running in second place very far behind Google.
“Unfortunately, as the competition in these sectors intensifies, they are returning to their usual playstyle of attacking opponents and lobbying for rules in favor of their interests. their own, ”wrote Kent Walker, Google’s Senior Vice President of Policy.