CCI Orders Probe Into Google's 'Abuse of Dominance' in News Aggregation

The investigation by the CCI has been ordered after a complaint from The Digital News Publishers Association.

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a fresh probe into Google over its alleged “abuse of dominance in news aggregation" in its news showcase.

The investigation by the CCI has been ordered after a complaint from the Digital News Publishers Association, with members such as India Today, Times Internet, ABP, The Indian Express, Jagran New Media, and others.

The news publishers alleged that a majority of traffic to news websites comes from search engines, of which Google remains the dominant one, and that search engines end up leveraging the revenue earned by the content.

According to a report by The News Minute, the publishers alleged that Google, which directs 50 percent of the traffic to websites, “unilaterally decides the amount to be paid to the publishers for the content created by them, as well as the terms on which the aforesaid amounts have to be paid.”


'Alleged Conduct of Google Unfair, Merits Detailed Investigation': CCI

Anti-trust agency CCI, in its order, notes:

“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. Therefore, the alleged conduct of Google appears to be an imposition of unfair conditions and price which, prima facie, is a violation of Section 4(2)(a) of the Act.”

"No doubt, Google, being the gateway, generates substantial traffic for news publishers, but at the same time, the bargaining power imbalance and denial of fair share in the advertising revenue, as alleged by the Informant, merit detailed investigation," the CCI said as per The News Minute.

The CCI has noted in its order that a probe will be conducted to determine whether Google imposes any discriminatory condition or pricing for various news publishers.

The regulator has directed that a report be submitted on the matter within 60 days.

(With inputs from The News Minute.)

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