The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) earlier this week published a series of recommendations to push back against the influence U.S. tech giants are having on society in the country.
According to a report in CNBC, citing the report published by the ACCC, the government watchdog listed a series of remedies, which include creating a government agency that would be tasked with regulating how the likes of Facebook and Google publish news on their platforms. Also, under the recommendations, Google Chrome wouldn’t be allowed to be installed as the default browser on computers, smartphones, and tablets in the country. The watchdog also wants to ban Google from being installed as the default search engine on other internet browsers.
In the case of creating a new agency to regulate the technology companies, the ACCC said the job of the agency would be to investigate, monitor and report on how the digital platforms rank and advertise news content. It also suggested a system in which media content would have different badges online, and incentives including tax write-offs for technology companies that work to publish credible news reports.
What’s more, the ACCC said in the report that it was concerned that the technology companies are hurting media companies in Australia and creating so-called “filter bubbles” by giving more clout to news sources that aren’t as reliable as traditional media. “Without adequate information and with limited choice, consumers are unable to make informed decisions, which can both harm consumers and impede competition,” the report said.
In a statement emailed to CNBC, a Facebook Australia spokesperson said: “We received the ACCC’s preliminary report Monday, and we are currently reviewing their analysis and recommendations in more detail. As we have done over the past 12 months, we remain committed to working with the Commission as they review the contribution of all digital platforms in Australia.”
Meanwhile, a Google spokesperson told CNBC that it works closely with advertisers and publishers in Australia.