Japan’s Fair Trade Commission issued a rebuke this Thursday against Google and Yahoo Japan Corp, accusing the tech titans of potentially breaking antitrust laws by promoting news on their platforms without adequately compensating content providers.
The report, released Thursday, identified six possible violations in total; four of them related to news outlets refusing to renegotiate contracts with providers after readership unexpectedly dropped due to display method changes on platforms. The other two involved complaints of Google blacklisting rivals in its search results.
When contacted by the commission, Google issued a statement explaining it would look closer at the allegations, with the intention of explaining their internal protocols for news distribution. A Government spokesperson from the Fair Trade Commission in Japan responded by stating that punitive action would be taken against the companies if any violations were discovered.
Read more: Japan Toughens Regulations On Tech Giants
The investigation ties into a much larger trend of increased worldwide antitrust scrutiny, as tech giants have risen to largely uncontested power – dominating their respective markets, limiting competition, and capitalising on an industry largely unregulated before the turn of the last century.
News portals, in particular, have seen an alarming detriment to their profits in an environment that sees the majority of profits generated the tech giants, with content providers receiving little to no compensation. With online news becoming the primary source of information for much of the global population, drastic measures are needed to ensure smaller companies are not treated unfairly by digital goliaths.
This investigation has already yielded calls late in 2021 to the tech giants essentially to reach terms with news outlets on digital advertising, yet, no improvements have formed from these measures as of yet – with a stalemate now placed between the two.