Google faces another probe as CCI alleges unfair revenue-sharing terms

India’s Competition Commission has ordered another detailed investigation against Google for allegedly unfair revenue-sharing terms with respect to news content.

The case will be associated with two other ongoing cases against the major search engine where the allegations are much the same, according to the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The latest order follows a complaint filed by the News Broadcasters & Digital Association.

In January of this year, CCI ordered an investigation against Google over the complaint filed by the Digital News Publishers Association. Later, the Indian Newspaper Society also filed a similar filing and that was clubbed with the former.

Now the chief executive (CEO) of the regulator’s probing arm will submit a consolidated investigation report, the watchdog said in an order released Friday.

The News Broadcasters & Digital Association had alleged that its members were forced to provide their news content to Google in order to rank their web links in Google’s search engine results page (SERP). As a result, Google is exploiting members’ content for free without paying them adequate compensation, according to the complaint.

Among other things, it was alleged that Google exploited the members’ reliance on the search engine offered by Google for referral traffic to create services such as Google News, Google Discover and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP ).

The major search engine provides news content to the user through Google search and through the vertical news aggregator, Google News.

According to the complaint, in Google Search, users can either search for news directly through the News tab or receive news through SERP results. Google has incorporated news content into its SERPs through featured snippets, including “Top Stories” carousels.

However, the revenue distributed by Google to news publishers does not compensate for the actual contribution made by members of the association to these platforms, he added.

In a four-page order, dated Oct. 6 and released Friday, CCI said the allegations are substantially the same as those in the case that is already under review by the regulator.

CCI ordered the DG to consolidate the cases and submit a consolidated investigation report.

Cases where there is prima facie evidence of violation of competition standards are referred by the ICC to its Investigations DG for detailed investigation.

The complaint was filed against Alphabet, Google, Google India, Google Ireland and Google Asia Pacific.

The association consists of national and regional private news and current affairs broadcasters and digital news media entities as members.

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