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Committee writes to platforms on balance of power with news publishers

26 June 2020

Following an oral evidence session on 23 June, the Communications and Digital Committee writes to Facebook and Google asking for clarity on unresolved questions.


In addition to asking each platform about their communication with news publishers, the below questions have been asked.

Questions to Facebook include:

  • How much value do you derive from news on your platforms?
  • Please justify your claim that "we have no sense in which there is an imbalance of power" between Facebook and publishers.
  • Why do you not allow publishers to sell programmatic advertising for "instant articles"?

Questions to Google include:

  • Please justify your claim that Google does not make editorial decisions.
  • Please provide evidence for your claim that "Google makes very, very small amounts of money on news-related queries".
  • If it is true that Google makes "very, very small amounts of money of news-related queries", how is that consistent with your claim that there is no imbalance of power between Google and publishers?
  • Do you accept that being present at multiple points in the advertising value chain gives Google unprecedented and anti-competitive market power?
  • Why, in introducing uniform floor prices, have you removed publishers' ability to set per-buyer floors?

The Committee was disappointed by the platforms' responses, and looks forward to receiving clear answers.

Further information