Google under lens of competition regulator

Updated on Mar 27, 2022 06:18 AM IST
The Competition Commission of India, the country’s chief competition regulator, has ordered an investigation into the “abuse of dominance” by tech giant Google, the Indian Newspaper Society has said in a statement.
The INS has sought fair value for content hosted on Google, stating that news publishers are not being properly compensated for the content they generate.
The INS has sought fair value for content hosted on Google, stating that news publishers are not being properly compensated for the content they generate.
ByDeeksha Bhardwaj, New Delhi

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country’s chief competition regulator, has ordered an investigation into the “abuse of dominance” by tech giant Google, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has said in a statement.

The INS has sought fair value for content hosted on Google, stating that news publishers are not being properly compensated for the content they generate.

“The News Media Houses are completely kept in the dark on the total advertising revenue collected by Google and what actual percentage of the advertising revenue is being transferred to media organizations. The European Publishers Council had also filed a competition complaint against Google alleging that Google has achieved end to end control of the ad tech value chain, thus abusing its dominant position,” the statement released on Friday said.

The society has also alleged that Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc, along with Google LLC, Google India Private Limited, Google Ireland Limited, and Google Asia Pacific Pvt Ltd are “abusing their dominant position related to News Referral Services and Google Ad Tech Services in the Indian online news media market, which is in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002”.

Section 4 of the Act refers to the abuse of position of dominance by a company that imposes discriminatory market access, or limits or restricts.

“The INS has highlighted the fact that the producer/publisher of news which are made available in digital format, are not being paid a fair value for their content, despite them having invested heavily in creating appropriate content for the customers, who search for news items using the Google platform,” the press statement said.

According to the newspaper society, the CCI has prima facie found that these “allegations of abuse of dominant position are under the purview of the Competition Act, 2002 and that it requires a detailed investigation by the Director General”.

“CCI accordingly passed an order to club the information submitted by the INS with the submissions made by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) who have also filed information before the CCI on similar contentions,” the statement concluded.

HT reached out to Google but did not immediately receive a response.

Along with the INS, the Digital News Publishers Association has also petitioned the CCI against Google on similar grounds.

Several countries including Australia, France and Spain have already passed legislation requiring tech companies, including Google, to adequately compensate content producers for using their content on search results.

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