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Australia prepares strong attack on Google, Facebook and other tech giants

Christian Fernsby |
Australia’s competition watchdog is poised to call for far-reaching new regulations on Facebook, Google and other tech giants.

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s recommendations, if confirmed, would be among the strongest yet in a drive to rein in the power of digital behemoths amid a host of worldwide concerns including antitrust issues, privacy abuse and their role in spreading disinformation and hateful content.

Following an 18-month inquiry into the power of digital platforms, the ACCC is due to issue its final report by June 30.

It is expected to include proposals for sweeping controls over the way tech companies handle personal data and use of “opaque” algorithms to rank advertisements, search results and content.

In a 328-page preliminary report issued in December, the ACCC raised alarm over the “substantial” market power wielded by the likes of Google and Facebook and the “lack of transparency” in their operations. “We are at a critical point in considering the impact of digital platforms on society,” said the report, initiated by the conservative government at the behest of Australia’s main media organisations.

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