The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation into complaints that Google has allegedly abused its dominant position in the online news market.
The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) said in a statement last week that Google’s parent Alphabet Inc, Google LLC, Google India Private Limited, Google Ireland Limited, and Google Asia Pacific Pte Ltd were allegedly abusing their dominant position in their news referral and related advertisement service in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002.
The INS alleged that the producers/publishers of news were not being compensated fairly for the content they were putting out on digital platforms for customers who searched for news items using the Google platform.
“Several countries, including Australia, France and Spain, have passed legislation requiring tech companies, including Google, to adequately compensate content producers for using their content and search results,” the INS said.
It alleged that the news media houses were being kept in the dark on the total advertising revenue collected by Google and the actual percentage of the amount being transferred to media organisations.
“The European Publishers Council had also filed a competition complaint against Google alleging that Google has achieved end to end control of the ad tech value chain, thus abusing its dominant position,” the INS statement added.
According to the INS, the CCI has “found that prima facie these allegations of abuse of dominant position are under the purview of the Competition Act, 2002, and that it requires a detailed investigation by the director-general.
The CCI accordingly passed an order to club the information submitted by the INS with the submissions made by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) who have also filed information before the CCI on similar contentions”.