ACCC puts Google, Facebook on notice in privacy crackdown

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3 simple, mind-blowing numbers that show the dominance of Google and Facebook in Australian advertising

"The inquiry has also uncovered some concerns that certain digital platforms have breached competition or consumer laws, and the ACCC is now investigating five such allegations to determine if enforcement action is warranted", Mr Sims said.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. This flows through to substantial power when it comes to online search advertising, as well as the referral of traffic to news sites.

According to the NSW Business Chamber's survey of its members, 71 per cent had utilised digital platforms to advertise and indicated digital advertising had positively affected their business, with 62 per cent of respondents indicating digital advertising had increased customers, 43 per cent indicating it had increased sales and 34 per cent indicating it helped reduce costs.

It estimates the digital giants now scoop two-thirds of all Australian advertising spend.

In its preliminary report, the ACCC said while digital platforms had revolutionised the way consumers communicated and accessed news and information and offered many benefits, there were questions about their the responsibility they held as "gateways" to information.

The recommendation, in a preliminary report on the US firms' market power, is being closely watched around the world as lawmakers wrestle with the powerful tech firms' large and growing influence in public life, from privacy to publishing.

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Another major recommendation would see Google forced to end the use of Chrome and Google Search as default apps on the Android mobile platform. "We appreciate that many of these changes have been positive for consumers in relation to the way they access news and information and how they interact with each other and with businesses".

"The regulatory authority could have the power to investigate complaints, initiate its own investigations, make referrals to other government agencies and publish reports and make recommendations", a section of the report said.

Media businesses that compete with Google and Facebook for the supply of advertising opportunities allege that the unilateral verification and measurement carried out by Google and Facebook compares unfavourably with what they consider to be objective sector-wide measures applicable to traditional print and now online publications and commercial TV broadcasters. "Google and Facebook are critical and, in many cases, unavoidable business partners".

Derek has been working as a journalist for almost over a decade having published pieces many publications including the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Huffing Post. "This has implications across society because of the important role the media plays in exposing corruption and holding governments, companies, powerful individuals and institutions to account", Sims said.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising. Additionally, it will examine the extent to which consumers' data is collected and used for targeted advertising.

The ACCC is in particular concerned about the length, complexity and ambiguity of online terms of service and privacy policies, including click-wrap agreements with take-it-or-leave-it terms.

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