The consumer watchdog released a statement stating that the federal government had directed it to launch an inquiry into the global behemoths, amid concerns that search engines, social media platforms and digital content aggregators may be stifling competition in the media advertising sectors.
“The ACCC goes into this inquiry with an open mind to and will study how digital platforms such as Facebook and Google operate to fully understand their influence in Australia,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
“We will examine whether platforms are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media content creators and advertisers.”
As part of the inquiry, the ACCC will have powers to compulsorily gain access to relevant information, giving the findings increased credibility.
“As the media sector evolves, there are growing concerns that digital platforms are affecting traditional media’s ability to fund the development of content,” Mr Sims said.
“Through our inquiry, the ACCC will look closely at the impact of digital platforms on the level of choice and quality of news and content being produced by Australian journalists.”
The chairman added: “We are keen to hear the views of content creators, mainstream media outlets and smaller media operators, platform providers, advertisers, journalists, consumers and small business interest groups.”
A preliminary report will be available in December 2018, with the final report on the ACCC’s findings due by June 2019.