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Facebook and Google respond to Lords on online advertising and news

6 July 2020

Facebook and Google reply to a letter from Lord Gilbert of Panteg, Chair of the Communications and Digital Select Committee, which asks a series of questions as part of the Committee’s inquiry into the future of journalism.

Background

Following an evidence session with representatives of Facebook and Google on Tuesday 23 June, Lord Gilbert said that he was disappointed in the answers the Committee received. He wrote to the platforms on Thursday 25 June to ask them to provide clear answers within five working days.

The Committee has published the platforms’ responses. This follows the release of the Competition and Markets Authority’s report on online platforms and digital advertising on Wednesday 1 July.

The Committee will make recommendations to the Government about the online advertising market and the balance of power between platforms and publishers in its report on the future of journalism in the Autumn.

Questions

Questions to Facebook included:

  • 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.
  • Please provide details of your “almost daily meetings” with news publishers.

Questions to Google included:

  • Please justify your claim that Google does not make editorial decisions.
  • 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?

Further information