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Australia Says Facebook and Google Must Commit to Competition Rules

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Australia on Thursday said that tech giants like Facebook and Google must agree to new rules to ensure that they do not abuse the dominance they have; otherwise, the government might have to impose new controls on them

Google and Facebook are both advertising firms who leverage on the information of users to help business target their audiences. In other words, sponsored ads on these platforms is the main income generator.

Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will create a code of conduct as guidance for the advertising companies to address their complaints. The essence of this is to control the dominance of Facebook and Google as both are wielding too much power.

The guidelines will ensure that the excess power is not used to lessen competition in the advertising services markets.

I want us to be the model jurisdiction in the world for how we are dealing with digital platforms, social media platforms,” the Prime Minister said.

The governments from the United States and Europe have been scrambling to address issues ranging from fake news to hate speech on social media. Currently, it has been a battle with the government to put a halt to sponsored ads on politics. This move tightens the regulatory screws om these platforms.

The Australian government has given two choices to the technology companies. They either have to agree to the new rules which would be implemented by November 2020 or agree to the imposed guidelines.

The companies are on notice. The government is not messing around. We will not hesitate to act,” The Australian Treasure Josh Frydenberg said.

The big techs, Google and Facebook said they’d rather opt for a greater competition and will work closely with the ACC. “We support a sustainable news ecosystem which is why we work with publishers to help them reach new audiences,” Facebook and Google said in an emailed statement.

Both big techs oppose tighter regulations but the Australian government has taken a decision. For months, the country has signalled its intentions to get tough on the technology titans. In July, it established a branch within the ACCC, whose task was to scrutinise how the companies use the algorithms to match ads with their viewers, making it the first country to do so.

It’s great the government is making a serious attempt to address the deep-rooted dominance of the online tech and streaming giants,” Paul Anderson, Chief of executive of Australia’s Network 10 said.

Australia is April, passed a bill that could fine social media companies up to 10% of the annual turnover if they fail to remove violent content.

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