Murdoch’s News Corp. calls for Google breakup

News organizations accuse the tech giants of gaining huge commercial benefit from expensive to create content. (Shutterstock)
Updated 12 March 2019
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Murdoch’s News Corp. calls for Google breakup

  • News Corp’s local subsidiary complained that “Google enjoys overwhelming market power in both online search and ad tech services”
  • News organizations accuse the tech giants of gaining huge commercial benefit from expensive to create content

SYDNEY: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has called for Google to be broken up in Australia, the latest salvo in a battle between the corporate media giants.
In a petition to Australian regulators, News Corp’s local subsidiary complained that “Google enjoys overwhelming market power in both online search and ad tech services.”
Going a step further, the company accused Google of “abusing its dominant position to the detriment of consumers, advertisers and publishers.”
Earlier this week US presidential hopeful — and former federal consumer watchdog — Elizabeth Warren became the latest in a line of commentators to argue that firms such as Amazon, Google and Facebook hold ” too much power” in society.
News Corp. echoed her argument that Google’s businesses should be split, or failing that, search and advertising businesses should be firewalled off from each other.
“While News Corp. Australia recognizes that divestment is a very serious step ... divestment is necessary in the case of Google, due to the unparalleled power that it currently exerts over news publishers and advertisers alike.”
Australian watchdogs are seen as unlikely to recommend that Google be split, but the petition represents an intensification of the worldwide fight between Australian-born Murdoch and Google and Facebook.
News organizations accuse the tech giants of gaining huge commercial benefit from expensive to create content, while paying nothing and syphoning off advertising.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is one of several regulators across the world investigating the effect that digital platforms have on competition in the media, advertising and advertising services markets.
News organizations in Australia have struggled in recent years with falling revenue and shrinking staff, as giants like Google and Facebook dominate the digital economy.
The downturn has prompted a string of mergers that have left the market with only three or four major media companies.
Local newspapers, once the lifeblood of communities across this vast country, run on a skeletal staff or have been forced to close.
Among them Murdoch’s News Corp. is a dominant player, owning a slew of newspapers, television channels and the country’s only major cable television network.
Murdoch’s vast political influence has frequently come underfire from former prime ministers on both sides of Australian politics and is widely seen as pushing the tone of public debate to the right.
News Corp. Australia is a subsidiary of News Corp, which owns 21st Century Fox, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and a raft of papers and TV platforms in Britain.


Facebook says it stored ‘millions’ of unencrypted Instagram passwords

Updated 19 April 2019
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Facebook says it stored ‘millions’ of unencrypted Instagram passwords

  • The California firm reaches an estimated 2.7 billion people with its core social network, Instagram and messaging applications

SAN FRANCISCO, US: “Millions” of Instagram users had their passwords stored in unencrypted form on internal servers, Facebook said Thursday, raising its original estimate of tens of thousands.
“We discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users,” Facebook said in a blog post.
“We will be notifying these users as we did the others. Our investigation has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed,” the social network said.
Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, revealed last month that the unencrypted passwords of hundreds of millions of users had been stored, putting the number of Instagram users affected in the tens of thousands.
The social network’s handling of user data has been a flashpoint for controversy since it admitted last year that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, used an app that may have hijacked the private details of 87 million users.
Facebook has announced a series of moves to tighten handling of data, including eliminating most of its data-sharing partnerships with outside companies.
The California firm reaches an estimated 2.7 billion people with its core social network, Instagram and messaging applications.