200 newspapers sued Google and Facebook for cutting ads

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Photo: Kirill Kudriavtsev/AFP (Getty Images)

As the first Reported by AxiosAt present, about 200 newspapers are suing Google and Facebook, accusing technology giants of unfairly manipulating the advertising market by directly harming their publications.

Lawsuits handled by lawyers and law firms are under way Submitted on behalf of approximately 30 different companieses. In turn, these companies represent approximately 200 different newspapers across the country. (Recently axios Publish A complete list of the publications involved. ) Recently, these lawsuits were merged in New York State-this is a procedure through which the “complaints, judgments, and findings” of different but similar legal cases Can consider it as a.

Use with Separate antitrust litigation The lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General last year mainly accused Google and Facebook of illegally monopolizing the digital advertising market. They further sought to “restore the damage done to the newspaper in the past”, basically asking for expenditures commensurate with the money sucked from the industry.

According to Axios, if the newspaper wins, they will be entitled to high remuneration through the so-called “triple compensation”-the settlement amount paid is three times the amount of the proven compensation.

“These companies were stronger than Standard Oil in their heyday, so no one wanted to be the first company to accept them,” said Dao Greynolds, managing partner of HD Media, one of the companies suing. In a recent interview Reynolds revealed in the Wall Street Journal: “We feel that the political and legal environment has developed in a favorable direction for us, and we are ready to move on.”

Such discontent shouldn’t be too surprising since, as you’re probably aware, newspapers haven’t been doing so well lately. A Pew Research Last year’s data showed that advertising revenue in this industry has fallen by 62% in the past ten years, from US$37.8 billion in 2008 to US$14.3 billion in 2018.At the same time, the number of employees in the news editorial department has been reduced by half, and the circulation is similar. Deflated——The total circulation of daily newspapers dropped from 50 million copies in 2007 to approximately 28 million copies in 2018.

At the same time, companies like Google have been making a fortune-mainly through advertising revenue. In 2020 alone, Alphabet, the company’s parent company, generated $183 billion in revenue, of which more than 80% came from its advertising business. CNBC report.

Of course, Google believes that there is no direct relationship between its success and the decline of American journalism. When Gizmodo contacted a Google spokesperson for comment, a Google spokesperson provided us with the following statement:

“These statements are false. The online advertising space is crowded and competitive, our advertising technology costs are below the reported industry average, and publishers retain most of the revenue they earn when using our products. We are the world’s leading news One of the financial supporters of the industry, and has provided billions of dollars to support high-quality journalism in the digital age.”

Indeed, Google invested a lot of money Journalism scholarship And other news-related initiatives, although this may be insignificant compared to the advertising revenue of newspapers in the pre-Google world.

Having worked in a regional newspaper for several years, I can attest to the difficulty of ordinary publications: in many cases, wages are bad, morale is low, layoffs are routine, and they just barely make ends meet. Regardless of whether these lawsuits are successful or not, they will certainly cause people to pay attention to an important issue, namely that there is very little money in journalism today.

We contacted Facebook for comments, and if they respond, we will update this story.

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