US media group drags Google and FB to court
Charleston, USA West Virginia news publisher has filed an antitrust suit against Google and Facebook, who together receive roughly half of all digital ad dollars in the US and are facing antitrust charges from federal and state authorities.
The company, HD Media, owns several papers in the state, including the Herald-Dispatch in Huntington and the Charleston Gazette-Mail. HD Media claims Google has so monopolised the online ad market that “it threatens the extinction of local newspapers across the country”.
The suit also alleges that Google and Facebook conspired to further their dominance with a secret agreement, referring to a suit filed in December.
The company does not specify the impact on its business of the behaviour of Facebook and Google beyond saying that it has hurt its ability to “effectively monetise its content” because Google is enabled to take an uncompetitive share of the news publisher’s ad revenues. A lawyer for the company declined to speak on the record.
It’s the first antitrust lawsuit against a tech platform focused on news publishing, said David Chavern, head of the news trade group News Media Alliance. He said the group was not involved in the suit.