News referral service: Google under CCI lens

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a probe into a complaint of abuse of dominant position by Google in their news referral and related advertisement service, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) said in a statement.

The INS has said Alphabet Inc, which is the parent company of Google, Google LLC, Google India Private Limited, Google Ireland Limited, and Google Asia Pacific were abusing their dominance in the “news referral services” in the online news media market, which was in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002.

The newspaper society also alleged that the publishers of news were not being paid a fair value for the content they produced and put out on their digital platforms.

“Several countries, including Australia, France and Spain, have passed legislation requiring tech companies, including Google, to adequately compensate content producers for using their content and search results,” the INS said in its statement.

The Indian Express is part of the group of newspapers and digital news media outlets which form the INS.

The INS added media houses were being kept “in the dark on the total advertising revenue collected by Google and what actual percentage of the advertising revenue is being transferred to media organisations”. “The European Publishers Council had also filed a competition complaint against Google alleging that Google has achieved end to end control of the ad-tech value chain, thus abusing its dominant position,” it said.

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