By Hadas Gold | CNN

An organization that represents more than 2,000 news publishers sent letters on Tuesday to federal agencies, urging them to launch an investigation into Google after the tech behemoth began removing links to California-based news outlets.

The move from Google, which drew swift backlash, came over a proposed law that would require tech companies to pay for news content.

The News/Media Alliance, which represents US newspapers and online publications, said it had sent letters to the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and the California Attorney General to request an investigation into whether Google broke any laws when it limited some Californians’ ability to access news websites from Google search last week.

On Friday, Google announced it had begun removing links to California news websites for some users in response to the bill that would force Google, Meta and others to pay news outlets for their content. The Mountain View-based search giant said it launched the “test” to gauge “the impact of the legislation on our product experience.”

RELATED: Dozens of Google employees protest use of company’s tech for war in Gaza

The letter asked the federal and state agencies to investigate whether Google’s move violates the Lanham Act, the Sherman Antitrust Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act as well as California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, prohibitions against false advertising and misrepresentation, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL).

“Google released no further details on how many Californians will be affected, how the Californians who will be denied news access were chosen, what publications will be affected, how long the compelled news blackouts will persist, and whether access will be blocked entirely or just to content Google particularly disfavors,” the letter stated. “Because of these unknowns, there are many ways Google’s unilateral decision to turn off access to news websites for Californians could violate [various] laws.”

READ ALSO  Pittsburg star in transfer portal

In a statement, News/Media Alliance president and chief executive Danielle Coffey said that Google has too much power.

“No one company should be permitted to control information so singularly that it can make decisions to the detriment of society, as Google has done in California,” Coffey said. “We call on government agencies to take action to address the various ways this activity could violate existing antitrust and other relevant laws.”

In a statement Tuesday, a Google spokesperson said, “These baseless claims deflect the real issues with [the California Journalism Preservation Act] — this bill is unworkable and will hurt small, local publishers to benefit large, out-of-state hedge funds.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *