In an attempt to gauge the effects of popular social media sites among Australian media publishers and consumers, the Federal Government taps the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to conduct a thorough review of digital media platforms, particularly two of the most popular sites on the web -- Facebook and Google.
The directive of the Federal Government aims to seek whether digital media platforms, such as Facebook and Google, are leading consumers to suffer detrimental losses instead of benefits in the purchase of goods and services.
Positive or Negative?
In the official press statement, the ACCC explained that the agency will strive to retain an open mind during the inquiry where it seeks to fully understand the various effects of digital media platforms in Australia.
"We will examine whether platforms are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media content creators, and advertisers," said ACCC Chief Rod Sims. In addition, Sims mentioned that the agency will look "closely at longer-term trends and the effect of technological change on competition in media and advertising."
Aside from looking into the effects of digital media to consumers, the ACCC will also study how these digital platforms affect the quality of news content produced by Australian journalists. For the past several years, traditional forms of media have been battling a losing war against digital content, seeing a continuous decline in print media funding.
Advertisers are veering from traditional media and opting for modern marketing techniques, where they are capable of catching their target audience by means of digital media platforms such as Google and Facebook.
Unfortunately for social media giant Facebook, the company has been failing in keeping fake news reports at bay. Some people even claim that such fabricated news articles were so prevalent that these made a huge impact during the U.S. Presidential Elections in 2016.
Super Tight ACCC Schedule
While holding the inquiry mandate, the ACCC may use specific information acquisition powers under the provisions of the Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act (2010). The agency is expected to turn in a preliminary report by December 2018, and a final report in June 2019.
The ACCC has been busy handling a number of inquiry cases this year, including inquiries to the supply of retail electricity, supply and demand of gas, supply of insurance, mortgage products in residential areas, and even within the dairy industry.