Australia to set up antitrust office to police Facebook, Google

Australia said on Friday it would establish the world's first dedicated office within an antitrust regulator to police Facebook Inc and Google, setting a precedent for global lawmakers grappling with the U.S. technology giants' dominance.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Canberra would form a special branch of the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC), the antitrust watchdog, to scrutinize how the companies used algorithms to match advertisements with viewers, giving them a stronghold on the main income generator of media operators.

The move outlined in a groundbreaking report tightens the regulatory screws on the technology behemoths, which have governments from the United States to Europe scrambling to address concerns ranging from anti-trust issues to alleged political bias to the spread of “fake news” and hate speech.

Setting up a new regulatory office was one of 23 recommendations in the report, which outlined sweeping proposals to overhaul the country’s laws and regulations to rein in the power of the U.S. tech giants.

(Production: Stefica Nicol Bikes)

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