Google Joins Facebook In Calling Out ACCC Report Recommendations

Mountain View, California, USA - March 29, 2018: Google sign on the building at Google's headquarters in Silicon Valley . Google is an American technology company in Internet-related services and products.

Google Australia MD Mel Silva has issued another response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry, this time calling into question two of the recommendations.

Silva shared the blogpost today, after Google completed its submission as part of the Treasury consultation process on the DPI Final Report last Thursday.

Although she said Google is “broadly supportive of many of the Final Report’s 23 recommendations”, there are two recommendations that Silva has taken issue with.

These are Recommendation 3 and Recommendation 7, with the Google boss stressing the looming legislative changes “should be balanced with the interests of consumers and wider social and economic objectives”.

Recommendation 3 states Google should give Android users in Australia the ability to select from a number of browsers, as opposed to having default search engines.

“The recommendation to directly intervene in the Android operating system does not take into account Australian market conditions and competition laws, and provides no justification for focusing on Android when Apple’s iOS is the most-used mobile operating system in Australia (as noted in the Final Report) and Microsoft’s Windows remains the most-used PC-based operating system,” said Silva.

Next, Recommendation 7 calls for “designated digital platforms to provide codes of conduct governing relationships between digital platforms and media businesses to the ACMA”.

Specifically, it states that in cases where the digital platform obtains value from content produced by a news media outlet, the digital platform must share the revenue or compensate the news business.

“The proposal for regulator-sanctioned negotiation of revenue sharing between platforms and news publishers – as part of the code contemplated by Recommendation 7 – overlooks existing commercial arrangements between Google and Australian news publishers and the broader value that Google provides through referred web traffic and technology,” said Silva.

She added that Google sent 2 billion clicks to Australian publishers last year and also highlighted the company’s recent changes to better recognise original reporting.

Silva’s latest blogpost on the ACCC’s report took a different tone to the piece she shared in the days after the ACCC handed down the Final Report, in which she said: “we welcome efforts to better understand our business”.

Her criticism of the ACCC’s recommendations follows Facebook’s scathing response to the report, released on Monday.

Facebook accused the watchdog of “conflating” the two tech giants and said the 600-page report is based on “misunderstandings” and “mischaracterisation”.


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