Financial Insights

Google under investigation by CCI over allegation from DNPA

Tech Giant Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., is facing an investigation ordered by the Competition Commission of India over allegations that the search giant has abused its dominance in news aggregation.

The allegation was filed by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA). It is an organisation of leading digital media companies that protects and promotes the interests of digital news publishers. The association has accused Google of abusing its dominance in digital news and unilaterally deciding the share of advertisement revenues to be paid to the digital news publishers. The association has also claimed that Google does not share data on the revenue it earns from advertising on news websites.

“In a well-functioning democracy, the critical role played by news media cannot be undermined, and it needs to be ensured that digital gatekeeper firms do not abuse their dominant position to harm the competitive process of determining a fair distribution of revenue amongst all stakeholders, “ Competition Commission of India said in its order.

The CCI has also noted that the alleged unilateral decision by Google to not pay for the use of snippets of content produced by new publishers was a “prima facie violation” of the competition law. Hence, the CCI has directed the Director General (DG) to carry out an investigation into the matter under Sec. 26(1) of the Act wherein it will also survey the validity of other allegations such as Google mandating content publishers to implement Accelerated Mobile Pages for critical placement in mobile search.

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