Discussion paper

In the wake of threats by Google and Facebook to scale back or close services in Australia should the federal government proceed with plans to charge them for news content, this report identifies serious risks to Australian businesses, government services and consumers if services were withdrawn.

Key findings:

  • Risks to the civil discourse if Facebook bans local news with the platform likely to be swamped with disinformation.
  • Significant risks to local businesses if Google removes access to its advertising platform and to You Tube.
  • Disruption to health and education services which have become increasingly reliant on the Google suite of technology products.

Suggested recommendations:

  • Fast-track other elements of the ACCC Platforms Inquiry around consumer protection and privacy to address the existing advertising market dominance of the major platforms.
  • Audit existing government reliance on major platforms and place a cap on the number of government contracts any single technology provider should hold.
  • Develop a public-owned, public-purpose social network which does not track and monetise user data, to be housed through the ABC.
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