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Facebook, Google face Australian antitrust probe over digital media dominance

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will investigate whether Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. have misused their power in the country's digital media market, The Australian reported.

The move was welcomed by local industry leaders concerned about the rise of a digital advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook.

In December 2017, Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison told ACCC Chairman Rod Sims to launch a public inquiry into how digital platforms such as Google and Facebook affect competition in media and advertising. The regulator is required to submit a preliminary report on the matter within 12 months from the date of the inquiry notice.

Google is facing antitrust setbacks elsewhere. It was recently fined by the Competition Commission of India for abusing its dominant position in online general web search and web search advertising services in the country.

The European Commission, meanwhile, issued Google with an antitrust fine over its online search advertising platform AdSense. The company also reached an out-of-court settlement in Russia in a case involving the Android mobile operating system.

Facebook is also being probed by Germany's Federal Cartel Office for a potential abuse of its dominant position to collect third-party data from users.