Japan's Fair Trade Commission warned Google and other tech giants on Thursday that using news content from news media on their online platforms without proper compensation could potentially violate antimonopoly laws.
The warning comes amid growing global concerns that these platforms are generating substantial revenue from the internet distribution of news, while news media operators, including newspapers, magazines and broadcasters, seem to be grappling with exploitation due to inadequate compensation.
In its report released on the same day, the fair trade body highlighted six potential violations of antimonopoly laws. It urged online platforms to transparently disclose their criteria for compensating news content usage and indicated that it would take stringent actions against any violators.
Four of the examples concern possible violations by Yahoo Japan Corp. and other news portal operators, including refusing to renegotiate contracts despite a significant drop in the number of viewers for news outlets' websites due to a change in display methods on portals.
The remaining two cases involve potential breaches by search engine operators, such as Google LLC. The breaches include limiting the visibility of news content from rival platforms in search results rankings.
Google said in a statement that it will examine the report before explaining its services and work involving news outlets, companies and the general public.
In February 2021, the FTC urged information technology giants to clarify terms with news outlets through a survey on digital advertising, but it judged that no substantial improvement had been made in the environment.
This time, the commission compiled the report based on a survey of news content providers, IT giants and general consumers.
It stressed the importance of appropriate negotiations between news platform operators and news media operators from the perspective of improving fairness and transparency, as well as ensuring a fair and competitive environment.