Today, House Antitrust Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI) and the Democratic Majority of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law released their long-awaited report on the anticompetitive behavior of the big tech platforms. The report – based on the Subcommittee’s investigation of the tech platforms that began last year – makes multiple recommendations for addressing how their dominance has produced anticompetitive harms against consumers. The report includes an extensive discussion of the online platforms’ anticompetitive actions against news publishers, and consistent with global findings, how that abuse harms the ability to produce quality journalism for the public. A republican report released separately by Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) highlights areas of agreement with the majority’s report.
The first of seven hearings in the Antitrust Subcommittee’s investigation, in June 2019, focused on how Google and Facebook impact the news industry. During that hearing, multiple witnesses expressed support for H.R. 2054, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would allow news publishers to negotiate collectively with the online platforms for fair compensation for their content. The report recommends passage of H.R. 2054. We applaud the leadership of Chairman Cicilline and Rep. Collins for their introduction of this bill and for recognizing the importance of quality journalism.
News Media Alliance President & CEO, David Chavern, stated, “We commend Chairman Cicilline and the House Antitrust Subcommittee for their diligence in conducting their investigation, and for the concrete and impactful recommendations they proposed, to address the tech platforms’ anticompetitive behavior. For too long, tech platforms such as Facebook and Google have gotten away with imposing unfair terms and conditions on news publishers, and there has been no way to stop them. The platforms knew this and have taken advantage of their dominant positions, restricting competition and threatening the future of local and high-quality journalism. These recommendations will help to correct the anticompetitive behavior of the platforms and force them to play by the rules.”
Chavern continued, “We hope Congress will act swiftly to implement these recommendations, as well as pass the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, to protect not only competition online, but the availability of and access to reliable and trustworthy news for our communities.”
David Chavern is former President & CEO of the News/Media Alliance. Chavern has 30 years of experience in executive strategic and operational roles. Prior to the Alliance, he completed a decade-long tenure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.