Antitrust investigations, nevertheless essential, are sluggish, Cantwell notes. Even when the Federal Commerce Fee, Division of Justice, or state attorneys normal take motion to mitigate the harms Google and Fb trigger to native journalism, the change may come too late. Congress, she suggests, ought to take steps extra rapidly.
So what to do?
First, the report suggests, Congress ought to act instantly to supply extra COVID-19 aid to people and establishments, together with making native newspapers, radio, and tv retailers eligible for help. A COVID aid invoice would assist stanch the speedy bleeding: in journalism as in lots of sectors, COVID-19 took what was a constructing disaster and made it a disaster. The Poynter Institute has saved a operating listing of layoffs, furloughs, and closures in print, broadcast, and digital media this 12 months, and the numbers are ugly.
Cantwell’s report additionally means that Congress “ought to take into account requiring that information aggregation platforms enter into good-faith negotiations with native information organizations and pay them honest market worth for his or her content material.”
Competitors regulators in different nations have tried imposing comparable mandates prior to now a long time, and Google has fought furiously towards all of them. France and Google, for instance, have been in a protracted struggle for years over a regulation in that nation that requires Google to pay to hyperlink to articles on French information websites.
Most lately, the Australian Competitors and Shopper Fee—that nation’s equal of the FTC—proposed a draft rule that may enable Australian media retailers to cut price with Google and Fb to receives a commission for his or her information content material. Google responded by launching a marketing campaign focusing on shoppers who visited Google or YouTube from inside Australia that popped up warning labels concerning the proposed regulation and the results it may have on customers.
On October 1, Google seemingly tried to mollify regulators worldwide with a $1 billion funding in a “information showcase” that compensates retailers for his or her content material. The instrument is debuting in Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the UK, and Australia—all locations the place regulators have tried to power Google to pay for content material earlier than.