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HomeNewsCompetition Commission orders another probe against Google. Details here

Competition Commission orders another probe against Google. Details here

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Another thorough investigation into Google’s alleged use of unfair revenue-sharing terms with regard to news content has been mandated by the Competition Commission.

According to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the case will be combined with two other ongoing lawsuits brought against the leading search engine owned by Alphabet Inc.

Complainants

The News Broadcasters & Digital Association filed a complaint, which led to the most recent decision.

In response to a complaint from the Digital News Publishers Association, CCI commissioned an investigation into Google in January of this year. A subsequent similar case was brought by the Indian Newspaper Society and was combined with the initial one.

Now, the regulator’s probe arm Director General (DG) will submit a consolidated investigation report, the watchdog said in an order released on Friday.

Allegations

The News Broadcasters & Digital Association claimed that its members were compelled to give Google their news content in order to give their web links higher priority on Google’s Search Engine Result Page (SERP). As a result, the complaint claims that Google profiteers from the members’ content without adequately compensating them.

According to allegations, Google built services like Google News, Google Discover, and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) by taking advantage of users’ reliance on the search engine it offers for referral traffic.

The search engine major provides news content to user through Google Search and through news aggregator vertical, Google News.

The complaint claims that users of Google Search can either directly search for news using the News Tab or receive news via results in SERPs. Google incorporated news content in its SERPs through featured snippets including ‘Top Stories’ carousels.

However, the revenue distributed by Google to news publishers doesn’t compensate for the real contribution made by the association’s members to these platforms, it added.

Action by CCI

In a four-page order dated 6 October made public on Friday, CCI stated that the allegations are largely the same as those of the case that the regulator is already looking into.

CCI has directed the DG to club the matters and submit a consolidated investigation report.

The CCI refers cases where there is prima facie evidence of a violation of the competition laws to its investigation arm, DG, for a thorough investigation.

The complaint has been filed against Alphabet Inc, Google LLC, Google India Pvt Ltd, Google Ireland Ltd and Google Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

The complainant association consists of national and regional private news and current affairs broadcasters and digital news media entities as its members.

(With inputs from PTI)

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