Newspapers vs Big Tech: Antitrust tackles the problems that copyright just can’t fix


More than 200 newspapers have filed suit against Google and Facebook (AKA “Meta”), alleging that the tech giants colluded to rig ad markets so that they could misappropriate ad revenues that were properly owed to the publishers.

The evidence that Google and Facebook rigged this market is strong. Strip away all the ornamental complexity and it’s obvious that the foundations of the surveillance advertising industry are designed to shift value from advertisers and publishers to the tech companies that operate the “real time bidding” exchanges that process hundreds of billions in ad dollars.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority’s wide-ranging and comprehensive study of the ad-tech marketplace found many ways in which these markets were rigged to the detriment of publishers, and unsealed documents from antitrust prosecutions in the USA revealed explicit, undeniable collusion between the tech giants.

Together, Google and Facebook command 80% of the search and online display advertising market. Either one is in a position to bend that market to their advantage. Together, they are devastating, as the newspapers’ briefs show. How did they attain this remarkable scale? 

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