Google and Facebook Inc. are facing a regulatory crackdown in Australia to rein in their market dominance, adding to a barrage of global action against the technology giants.
A final report from Australia’s competition watchdog released on Friday (July 26) called for greater anti-trust scrutiny of the dominant U.S. tech companies, recommending penalties and deterrents be imposed for inappropriate storage and use of personal data and breaches of consumer and competition laws. “The world has never before seen so much commercially sensitive and personal data collected and aggregated in just two companies,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters in Sydney. The government will hold a 12-week public consultation and announce potential new regulations by the end of the year, he said.
The recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission follow attempts by regulators worldwide to loosen the companies’ grip on everything from advertising and search engines, to news, data and elections. The European Union has fined Google 8.2 billion euros ($9.1 billion) over the past two years for antitrust violations, while on Wednesday Facebook agreed to a $5 billion settlement in the U.S. over privacy concerns.
Facebook faces a slew of regulatory investigations and potential antitrust scrutiny in its home country, and on Thursday the Federal Trade Commission said it’s investigating whether the company violated antitrust laws through social media, digital advertising and mobile applications.
Facebook and Instagram together draw about 46% of Australian display advertising revenue. No other website or application has more than 5%, according to the ACCC.
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17 November, 2019