Google faces an antitrust investigation in India after news publishers complained


India’s competition regulator on Friday ordered an investigation into Alphabet’s Google after allegations were made by news publishers, stating that the tech giant initially violated some antitrust laws.

In its ruling, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said Google has dominated certain online search services in the country, possibly imposing unfair terms on news publishers.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The complainant, the Digital News Publishers Association, which includes the digital branches of some of India’s largest media companies, said Google had denied its members fair advertising revenue.

“In a well-functioning democracy, the critical role of the news media cannot be undermined,” says the IHK regulation. “It appears that Google is taking advantage of its dominant position in the relevant markets to enter / protect its position in the market for news aggregation services.”

News organizations that are losing advertising revenue to online aggregators like Google have been complaining for years about tech companies using stories in search results or other features for no pay.

The CCI regulation also mentioned new rules in Australia and France – fueled by media lobbyism and public pressure – that have resulted in billions of dollars in licensing deals worldwide.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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