On Tuesday, the Competition Commission of South Africa announced its intent to probe potential unfair competition practices by digital platforms like Meta and Google, which may be using news publishers’ content to generate advertising revenue.
The Commission’s investigation will delve into various aspects, including market dynamics that could skew the competition for advertising revenue between news media organizations and digital platforms, reported Reuters.
Additionally, it will assess whether these dynamics are influenced by disparities in bargaining power. Commissioner Doris Tshepe emphasized the significance of this inquiry in the evolving media landscape, marked by a substantial shift towards online news consumption and dwindling traditional funding sources for print and broadcast advertising.
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James Hodge, Chief Economist and Acting Deputy Commissioner, pointed out that media consumers are increasingly turning to video-sharing platforms, news aggregators, and social media for their news consumption, emphasizing the necessity to foster diversity in news reporting and public interest journalism.
The scope of this investigation will encompass not only general search engines like Google and Bing, social media platforms such as Meta and X, news aggregation platforms, video-sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok, but also advertising networks like Google Ads.
Furthermore, the inquiry will extend to examining generative artificial intelligence, including systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and how they employ original news content in their output, as noted by the Commission.