ACCC boss calls on Facebook and Google to explain personal data collection and news story rankings
ACCC boss calls on Facebook and Google to explain personal data collection and news story rankings

Tech giants increasing fake news risk: ACCC

INTERNET giants Facebook and Google do not do enough to explain how they rank news stories and collect personal information on people who read them, according to competition boss Rod Sims.

In a speech urging submissions on a review into the effect of digital companies on Australia's news media, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman said the power of tech behemoths increased the risk of fake news being fed to consumers.

Warning of emerging "filter bubbles and unreliable news on digital platforms", Mr Sims said Facebook and Google needed to take more responsibility for their role in the news media promoted online.

The companies' market power in news and advertising online should come with greater responsibility to explain how content was promoted and how readers' information was collected, the ACCC boss said.

"Facebook and Google's market power in advertising markets also relies increasingly on the extensive amount of data collected from consumers, enabling them to offer highly segmented or targeted advertising," Mr Sims said.

"For consumers there are issues with a lack of transparency and meaningful options in terms of how, and how much, data is collected about them."

Google must do more to explain how it ranks news, according to ACCC chairman Rod Sims. Picture: Hollie Adams
Google must do more to explain how it ranks news, according to ACCC chairman Rod Sims. Picture: Hollie Adams

Mr Sims made the comments as he backed a raft of recommendations to improve the media landscape and encourage a diversity of news outlets.

Tax deductions could be offered for people taking out news media subscriptions, regional news outlets could receive public subsidies and some news outlets could receive tax offsets under measures being investigated by the ACCC.

Detailing a 25 per cent decline in journalist numbers in print media over a decade, Mr Sims said "we cannot simply leave the production of news and journalism entirely to market forces".

Google and Facebook are expected to fiercely oppose some of the proposals.

Media companies, including News Corp Australia, publisher of The Courier-Mail, have welcomed the ACCC's call for greater regulation of tech giants.



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