FTC Needs Additional Powers to Protect Local News industry from other Big Techs
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) needs new powers to protect the struggling US local news industry from unfair competition from large technology companies, according to a senior lawmaker.
The top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee Maria Cantwell, in a report released stated on Tuesday that "local news has been hijacked by a few large news aggregation platforms, most notably Google and Facebook, which have become the dominant players in online advertising."
The tech giants, Cantwell's report added that they use their market dominance to "force local news to accept a little nothing for their intellectual property."
Google uses this by collecting headlines and story snippets from all over the web to feed its news platform and search results, while Facebook "receives billions in profits from the news content created by others," the report said.
The chief executives of Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet-owned Google will testify Wednesday at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that is expected to discuss their impact on local journalism.
The declines were already faced by several US local news outlets, in print revenue and have seen advertising plummet in the recent times of the COVID pandemic. As per the US news papers, it stated, newspaper would most likely cut at least 7,0000 employees in 2020, while leaving only about 30,000 newsroom jobs.
Cantwell said that "beyond just making sure that they (local news outlets) live to fight another day" Congress must address "unfair competition" faced by local news outlets that "hold governments accountable" and provide other services. "We don't want to lose that in the digital transformation," she added.
The Federal Trade Commission needs more authority and supremacy in its battle to defend news organizations against Big Tech.
That's the message from US Sen. Maria Cantwell who said new powers are the only thing that will help the FTC protect the struggling local news industry from being crushed by Silicon Valley juggernauts.
Cantwell wrote in a Tuesday report that "local news has been hijacked by a few large news aggregation platforms," and that they are all but hopeless of competing against companies like Google and Facebook that are also "the dominant players in online advertising."
Cantwell further wrote, "The need for new authorities for the FTC to address these practices is evident, the information and oversight that local news provides has been the foundation of our past and the guide way to our future, and new authority at the FTC to protect local news is a necessity."
Cantwell's report came a day before the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google are set to appear before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing to answer questions on their impact on local journalism.
This month, Google said it has planned to pay $1 billion to publishers globally for their news over the next three years. In March, Facebook said it was making a $100 million investment to support the news industry amid the pandemic.
However, neither company have commented any further say ahead of the report's release.