CCI Orders Another Investigation Into Google

The Competition Commission has requested a new comprehensive investigation into Google’s allegedly unfair revenue-sharing terms in regard to news content.

According to the Competition Commission of India, this case will be consolidated with two others already pending against the search engine giant (CCI). A new ruling has been issued in response to a complaint by the News Broadcasters & Digital Association.

CCI Orders Another Investigation Into Google
CCI Orders Another Investigation Into Google

The Digital News Publishers Association lodged a formal complaint against Google with CCI in January of this year prompting the regulator to launch an investigation into the company. A similar case was later filed by the Indian Newspaper Society and merged with the original.

Friday, the watchdog agency issued an order instructing its investigative arm, known as the Director General (DG) to submit a consolidated investigation report.

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The News Broadcasters & Digital Association claimed that its members were coerced into giving Google access to their news content in exchange for higher rankings for their website links in Google’s SERP. According to the complaint, Google exploits the members’ content without providing them with fair compensation.

There were claims that Google used its users’ reliance on its search engine to its advantage by creating referral-traffic-generating products like Google News, Google Discover and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Google News, a vertical within Google Search is a news aggregator that provides the content to Google’s vast user base.

The complaint states that users of Google Search can either access news directly through the News Tab or through the results displayed in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Google included news articles in its search engine results pages (SERPs) in the form of featured snippets and carousels highlighting “Top Stories.”

However, the association noted that its members’ actual contributions to these platforms are not adequately compensated by the revenue distributed by Google to news publishers.

A four-page order dated October 6 and made public on Friday states that the allegations are “substantially the same” as the matter already under investigation by the regulator.

CCI Orders Another Investigation Into Google

The CCI has asked the DG to combine the cases and present a unified investigation report. When CCI receives a complaint that appears to violate competition laws, it forwards the file to the Directorate for Investigation (DG) for further scrutiny.

The defendants named in the complaint are Alphabet (parent company), Google (US) LLC, Google (India) Pvt. Ltd., Google (Ireland) Ltd. and Google (Asia Pacific) Pte. Ltd. Private national and regional news and current affairs broadcasters as well as digital news media make up the membership of this organization.

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