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Newspapers To Bid For Antitrust Exemption To Tackle Google and Facebook ( 116

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: The news industry is to band together to seek a limited antitrust exemption from Congress in an effort to fend off growing competition from Facebook and Google. Traditional competitors including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as a host of smaller print and online publications, will temporarily set aside their differences this week and appeal to federal lawmakers to let them negotiate collectively with the technology giants to safeguard the industry. Antitrust laws traditionally prevent companies from forming such an alliance which could see them becoming over-dominant in a particular sector. However, the media companies will be hoping that Congress will look favorably on a temporary exemption, particularly giving the recent clampdown on the technology industry which saw Google slapped with a $2.7 billion antitrust fine. The campaign is led by newspaper industry trade group News Media Alliance and it is intended to help the industry collaborate in order to regain market share from Facebook and Google, which have been swooping in on newspapers' distribution and advertising revenues. The two companies currently command 70 percent of the $73 billion digital advertising industry in the U.S., according to new research from the Pew Research Centre. Meanwhile, U.S. newspaper ad revenue in 2016 was $18 billion from $50 billion a decade ago.
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Newspapers To Bid For Antitrust Exemption To Tackle Google and Facebook

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  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @09:06AM (#54785249)

    Allowing an excemption to antitrust rules is dangerous and stupid. If you have a problem with a powerful established competitor that is abusing a market dominant position, then seek antitrust against them. Dont abuse antitrust yourself.

    But hey, maybe they know something the rest of us dont-- like how absurd it is to expect the congress cronies to actually give teeth to the laws on the books.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      No, this is pretty much just communism in its murkiest still-identifiable form.

      Essentially, Facebook and Google deliver information. People on Facebook need stuff to talk about, so they talk about common interests. This includes ... news. Google, of course, can connect anything you're asking about to the news that's probably why you're asking about it.

      Now the newspapers aren't hot items anymore. People aren't buying newspapers, just like they're not buying physical CDs. In a generation, newspapers

      • I think the UK is experiencing the same thing. This is why the government is in such a mess. The Eton educated, racist buffoons with their minority government currently havent got a clue what to do about it since their whole existence is founded on deceit and lies. Its harder for them to continue when people are able to do their own research instead of being spoonfed by the mainstream media.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The problem is that the 'news' that Facebook and Google are 'providing' still comes largely from the newspapers. Neither Facebook nor Google actually gather and writes news. The only thing Facebook and Google are providing is ACCESS to the newspapers work, and Facebook and Google keep all the revenues from that work.

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        Did you read the article. it's not about the newspapers asking the Government to try to shore them up. It's about asking the government not to treat their own efforts to adapt to online news aggregation as illegal collusion under anti-trust law.

        They've accepted that people aren't buying newspapers any more - that's not the issue. They know that people are still consuming news, and they're actively moving their businesses online to where the people are. But various aspects of how Google and Facebook pres

        • To sum it up, some news organizations still care about journalistic integrity and Facebook doesn't. People are too stupid to know the difference, so that is what the fight is over.
          • To sum it up, some news organizations still care about journalistic integrity and Facebook doesn't. People are too stupid to know the difference, so that is what the fight is over.

            "We need an anti-trust exemption to fight for journalistic integrity!" - CNN

        • Industry groups work together to develop solutions to problems all the time.

          The "Fake News" part of this is a red herring. There's lots of bullshit news. There's lots of bullshit news in print newspapers. There's lots of bullshit news on Fortune, Forbes, and WSJ. More to the point, that's not really what they care about; their entire argument is that their businesses are failing and they need to somehow keep themselves relevant, bullshit news or none.

          What you describe suggests everyone wants to read

        • But they'd like to figure out how to keep those articles from being lost in a soup of real and fake news.

          They also need to figure out how to prevent the summaries of their articles from being so detailed that people don't click on them.

        • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

          CNN, et. al. could start by not making it so hard to distinguish between real and fake news themselves.

          Seriously, if those newspapers didn't consistently present such a distorted caricature of the people they oppose, while giving a pass on corruption to those they agree with, people wouldn't even look for a different source in the likes of Facebook.

      • So the newspapers essentially are asking Congress to step in and change the market place. They want the government to decide what businesses should exist and, specifically, how people should get their news.

        This is quite wrong. Newspapers want to be able to negotiate, as a group, with Google/Facebook for how their content can be used by those two agencies. It's the exact opposite of trying to cut down on online news - they want to be compensated for their online news.

        • So, the newspapers aren't asking for any regulations to be changed or legal actions to be deferred particularly for the interest of their businesses?

          • Well, they are asking to be able to negotiate as a cartel. That is a change to regulations. But they claim it's appropriate because they are negotiating with a different cartel (FB/Google).

            I'm not sure why that would be considered controversial. Certainly, without anti-trust laws it would have happened already. And they make the point that anti-trust laws aren't relevant to the current situation.

            Consider it akin to buggy-whip operators asking for changes in regulations on buggy-whip safety as their indu

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Except that is the issue, Google and Facebook are not abusing their positions against the rest of the news industry. The rest of the industry is pissed that google doesn't shove eyeballs at their pay-walled news sites. []

    • Allowing an excemption to antitrust rules is dangerous and stupid.

      If things are going badly for a once absurdly ruthless and powerful industry, change the laws. It's the American way.

    • Why don't all these media organizations band together instead to create their own search engine that features their news articles?

      Oh, I know why! Because that would be actual hard work! Then everyone would be able to see the actual value that big internet companies bring.
    • But hey, maybe they know something the rest of us dont-- like how absurd it is to expect the congress cronies to actually give teeth to the laws on the books.

      Even under the best of circumstances, bringing an antitrust suit against FB and Google will take 5-10 years. See, for example Microsoft in the 1990-2000s and Google in Europe in the early 2010s to Present. This option will likely move a lot faster.

  • Google and Facebook get their news from these companies. All they're doing is redistributing the work someone else did and making money off it.

    It would seem these folks should be paying the news companies for all this work which they themselves don't have to do.

    • Google and Facebook are not redistributing anything. They are linking. Generating traffic. Maybe these news companies would like it better if Google and Facebook would never link to them ever again. We've already been through this game, more than once now, by several foreign news outlets that wanted Google to stop indexing them. Google stopped. Then those sites came back begging to be indexed.

      These news organizations simply don't like the world that the 21st century has become. One where pretty mu
      • Do these news companies think I am going to go to their site to browse for news if I don't find it linked from some other site first?

        In other words, if you're not spoon-fed whatever pablum someone else decides to hand out, you won't seek out real food?

        That just screams the typical, lazy American.
        • A system (Google) that algorithmically scans and collates all the sites offering to 'spoon feed' you information is the _opposite_ of 'spoon feeding' you.

          If you get your information from an 'internet echo chamber', then it's no better than getting all your information from one media source.

  • Another idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter&tedata,net,eg> on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @09:31AM (#54785385) Journal

    Newspapers still provide an important and valuable service to our society. They should be paid for it. Companies like Google and Facebook shouldn't be harvesting content for free. Setup a licensing deal with Google, Facebook, and any other meta-news distributors. Newspapers get money, and they continue to provide their services.

    They should realize by now that the paradigm has shifted. People are consuming news content in new ways, and the best thing to do is adapt. Music's new distribution is streaming. News should be the same.

    • Re:Another idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @09:54AM (#54785531) Homepage Journal
      Yeah they should apply for an anti-trust exemption to let them negotiate collectively with the technology giants to safeguard the industry. You came up with a great idea!
    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      "They should be paid for it"

      Wrong they should be paid for it if there is a market for it. If nobody wants a paper, than they should NOT be paid for it. If they don't want their content harvested they should put it behind a pay wall or not put it online at all. If the paywall means Google does not index them and put them near the top of the search ratings to friggin bad.

      Ultimately Google will be hurt if they don't index the content and return the results people want. On the other hand maybe it will turn

      • I think thats a small and simple view of it. I guess Major Print Coalition(or whatever they could be called) is really really scared that at some point, Google or Facebook will look at them, and realize they source to Reuters or other such companies, and might attempt to kill them as middlemen.
        Or they are scared that the decline in quality will eventually threaten their income for Physical papers, because it will kill of quite a bit of print and knowledge.

        Not that anybody should really care, but USA is a hu

    • Companies like Google and Facebook shouldn't be harvesting content for free.

      Oh they are harvesting content? Based on what I saw they only provide snippets of the headlines and links to content.

      Really I wonder if maybe the media companies shouldn't be getting this for free. Heck just de-list them. That will make it all better.

    • by e r ( 2847683 )

      Newspapers still provide an important and valuable service to our society.

      The market is already quantifying just how valuable the newspapers' services are.
      If nobody's buying them or giving them any money then in what sense can you say that they're valuable to society?
      Note: you may find them valuable, but you are not society.

  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <> on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @09:54AM (#54785529) Homepage Journal

    Major fast food restaurants want to regulate and sue the roads and highways for providing their customers easy access to the competition while not compensating the major fast food restaurants for existing on those roads and highways.

    • There was a major highway closure coming up. Somebody suggested building a roadway to re-route traffic. It's be useful long and short term and stop traffic jams. Cheap too.

      The local fast food joints bought off the city council to squash it. See, if you're in traffic for 2 hours every day you're that much more likely to stop for Mickey D's or Burger King on the way home. The got caught and absolutely nothing came of it (besides the aforementioned traffic delays).

      You'd be surprised how much corruption t
  • by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @09:59AM (#54785573)

    Someone still sells buggy whips.

  • New York Times invites you, right on their front page, to "Join us on Facebook"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Outdated, outmoded, poorly written garbage.

  • Rent Seeking.

    That alone recommends against this and its advocates.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    we need to break up Amazon and Google and possibly Facebook. If we had a competent and functional antitrust division at DOJ this would be happening.

    It is not a trump thing, it is a crony politicians of both parties for decades thing. we need to smash these tech companies to bits like they did with Ma Bell.

  • Pravda-like news organizations seeking antitrust exemption. That's rich. What's next? Comcast, AT&T, Charter, etc cable companies seeking the same due to being threatened by on-line streaming and cord-cutting.

    On a related note, Google News recent changes seem to suggest something is happening behind the scenes between Google and major news organizations. In my view, it's no accident the reduced content density necessitating excessive scrolling, lack of introduction text from articles, and lack of supple

  • Why should we break up monopolies when instead we can create new ones?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google totally f***d up Google News UI recently.

    [I'm running the windows phone 8 user-agent patch but I fear it won't last long]

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @12:22PM (#54786857)

    Washington Post: privately purchased by Bezos, one of the richest people in the world, politically active and advancing his political views and preferences through the media. Bezos also owns a company that completely dominates online shopping.

    NYT: top shareholder is Carlos Slim, a Mexican billionaire with strong opinions on US politics, a major beneficiary from illegal immigration to the US, and a major Clinton supporter.

    Bezos, WaPo, and the NYT symbolize what's wrong in American politics according to Democrats and progressives: foreign collusion, corruption of the political process by billionaires, and crony capitalism. And it's Democrats themselves that support these pricks.

  • "The News Media Alliance argue that, despite their growing dominance in news distribution, Facebook and Google lack the resources and ability to guarantee the accuracy of reporting upheld by reputable news associations."

    You mean all the Russia bullshit stories you have been running only to have to retract them!

    Let's not forget the ever popular WMDs and the Iraq War cheerleading...yeah real reputable.
  • (YOU ARE NOT google or facebooks customer, you are the product) Google isn't a monopolist in search but between Google and Facebook they do completely dominate online advertising.

    The newspapers want to negotiate with Google and Facebook but they can't. There is an imbalance in power because there are many newspapers and only two companies they can get advertising money from. If they don't band together it becomes a race to the bottom for them.
    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )
      Unless they get every news site out there to cooperate, Google and Facebook will just switch to other sources. Besides the smaller domestic ones, there's tons of foreign news sources too. Even if they lose some traffic, it's not that big of a deal. Meanwhile, I wonder how long these news sites will last without any readers.
  • Unfortunately, the Mainstream Media have already enjoyed a monopoly on mindshare for a long time. The reality is that the mindshare is not only draining from the Mainstream Media, but also the Internet is cultivating independent journalism.

    Independent journalism, unfettered by the fascist/propagandist/leftist narrative that went unchecked for so long, has all but completely obliterated that narrative and, therefore, the credibility of these Mainstream Media organizations.

    So, this seems more like a cry from

  • Personally, I will not be providing any exemptions to my antitrust doctrine of the so-called news media and their complete lack of integrity at all levels, on every subject. A large portion of what they present as news is merely masked advertising. Huge amounts of content are nothing but political jabbering, fear mongering, and outright incitement of the populace over trivial/non-existent issues. I could care less if they sink back into the mud from whence they spawned.

Air is water with holes in it.