Google vice-president of search Pandu Nayak has warned that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s proposal for a regulator of its algorithms could open the door for low-quality websites to spam consumers.
Nayak will be meeting with ACCC chairman Rod Sims to discuss the proposal, and expressed concerns of the potential drawbacks in an interview with The Australian: “My message will be that we’re all for transparency but there are limits to transparency, for if we go too far along this we’re going to be in a situation where we’re going to hurt the very people we’re trying to help because of the spam and other malicious activity.”
The ACCC’s digital inquiry found that Google has substantial market power in online search, search advertising and news referral, and Facebook has substantial market power in markets for social media, display advertising and online news referral.
Of the findings, Sims said that the dominant market position held by Google and Facebook was at risk of creating competitive or consumer harm, and that the government should stay ahead of the game in response.
He also stated that Google and Facebook were responsible for the future of journalism, having taken away advertising revenue streams, without replacing the media businesses creating the content.
Sims said in a speech on Monday: “If they had, we may simply treat this as an example of creative destruction: innovation and technological change creating a more effective or efficient product.
While this view could be taken in relation to the advertising opportunities offered on the digital platforms, it cannot be taken in relation to news and journalism.”
Nayak is wary, however, saying that if there is too much transparency behind the algorithms, it opens the door for spammers, by giving them more tools to abuse the system.
Nayak and others will have until Friday to respond to the ACCC’s proposal.
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