Google, Facebook face greater scrutiny in Australia

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"Five investigations is quite a lot".

Another major recommendation would see Google forced to end the use of Chrome and Google Search as default apps on the Android mobile platform.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) voiced on Monday its concern over the extent to which Google and Facebook are collecting user data in order to enable target advertising. "While the evidence of filter bubbles arising on digital platforms in Australia is not yet strong, the importance of this issue means it requires close scrutiny", the ACCC commented.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's call was among 11 recommendations in its preliminary report on a world-first inquiry into the impact digital platforms are having locally.

"Google and Facebook are more than mere distributors or pure intermediaries in the supply of news in Australia", Rod Sims, chairman of the regulator, said.

"The preliminary report examines important topics in relation to Australia's changing media and advertising industry and we welcome the opportunity to contribute to the ACCC inquiry" a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Derek has been working as a journalist for almost over a decade having published pieces many publications including the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Huffing Post.

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A lack of transparency in key algorithms makes it hard to know if the tech giants are favoring their own business interests over advertisers using the platforms, the ACCC said.

The report recommended measures to monitor and curb their power, as well as steps to help ensure traditional Australian journalism - funded by advertising revenue that is rapidly declining - is able to survive.

Additionally, Sims stated that the inquiry has uncovered concerns that some digital platforms have breached competition or consumer laws, of which the ACCC is now investigating five allegations to determine if enforcement action is needed. The ACCC said it is in particular concerned about the length, complexity and ambiguity of online terms of service and privacy policies, including click-wrap agreements with take-it-or-leave-it terms. The ACCC has said its proposals are liable to change, however recommends giving the new controller insightful forces to look at how the organizations rank promotions and news articles.

This has happened because they claim to offer advertisers a product traditional media never could: ads that will reach exactly the people most likely to buy your product.

"Australian law does not prohibit a business from possessing significant market power or using its efficiencies or skills to "out compete" its rivals. But when their dominant position is at risk of creating competitive or consumer harm, governments should stay ahead of the game and act to protect consumers and businesses through regulation", Sims added.

"Digital platforms are also unavoidable business partners for many Australian businesses".

The proposed preliminary recommendations and the areas for further analysis identified aims to address negative impacts of digital platforms and, according to ACCC, will also contribute to the debate about the appropriate level of government oversight.

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