SA publishers to drag Google, Facebook to the Competition Commission

South African publishers, including Naspers-owned Media24, are dragging Google and Facebook (now Meta Platforms) to the Competition Commission, seeking compensation for use of their journalism by the two US technology giants.

SA publishers to drag Google, Facebook to the Competition Commission

An industry association called Publisher Support Services (PSS) is making submissions to the commission on behalf of Media24, Arena Holdings, Caxton, Independent Media and Mail & Guardian Media – these companies are the founder members of PSS.

In a statement on Thursday, the publishers described their planned submission to the commission as “the opening gambit in challenging Google and Meta to be compensated for their content used on these platforms”.

Mail & Guardian Media CEO Hoosain Karjieker, who also chairs PSS, said in the statement: “Globally, platforms like Google and Meta have been using publishers’ content at no cost to grow their market dominance. Our objective is to get them to compensate us fairly and equitably for our journalistic efforts. Hence, we are making submissions on their behaviour in the local market to the Competition Commission’s market inquiry into online platforms in South Africa.”

Karjieker said the South African publishers hope to emulate similar efforts elsewhere in the world that “forced these platforms to the negotiating table, to have them agree on fair compensation to publishers for their content”.

PSS said submissions will be filed by next month, with hearings to follow in February. Karjieker invited other media houses to join the initiative. It said none of the media houses is available for further comment as the submissions are “confidential”.

TechCentral has reached out to Facebook and Meta Platforms for comment.  

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