Google vice president of news Richard Gingras has addressed criticism the tech giant is a “disruptor” to news publishers at a media event held in Sydney Earlier this week.
Speaking about the ‘duopoly’ of Google and Facebook, Gingras said any monopolisation of the market is “factually incorrect”.
“Too often what I read the notion that says ‘news models were disrupted because of Google and Facebook, otherwise known as the duopoly’ and that is factually just not the case,” he said.
“That’s just not what happened to newspaper business models.”
Instead, Gingras blamed the advent of the internet for the global shake-up of news media.
“What did happen, is the internet happened.
“The internet put a printing press in everyone’s hands, the internet enabled an extraordinary explosion of content, and much of it great content, that’s given people around the world, access to information they never had before,” he said.
“In fact, if Google didn’t exist those same disruptions would’ve occurred had the internet happened as it did.
“Even when you look at Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google, these are very, very different beasts.
“If the specific challenge or accusation is that the disruption in the environment of publishing and news was a result of these key players, then that deserves appropriately to be debunked,” he added.
According to The ABC, Gingras will also meet with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commision (ACCC) while in Sydney to discuss the ACCC’s ongoing probe into digital platform transparency.
The ACCC began calling for submissions from Australian media outlets and publishers to determine if the likes of Facebook’s and Google’s algorithms have breached consumer protection laws in February as part of its digital platforms inquiry.
Last month, ACCC chairman Rod Sims outlined how the commission would be examining the likes of Facebook and Google during its inquiry into digital platforms.
According to Sims, the investigation covers four key areas – one of those being the impact of digital platforms on the quality of news and journalism in Australia.
“Quality is extremely hard to assess, but broadly speaking we will be investigating whether the reduction in advertising revenue prevents publishers and broadcasters from delivering quality journalism, by which we mean investigative, verified and diverse journalism,” he said.
“Journalism is a highly valued profession, and crucial to our lives. Just like we are well advised not to rely on amateur doctors, perhaps we should not rely on amateur journalists.”
“How we approach the proliferation of digital platforms, and how they collect and manage our data, is one of the defining questions of our age,” he added.