Newspaper Takes On Big Tech

( Old media is taking on new media, it seems, with a local newspaper from West Virginia reportedly taking Big Tech companies to court The Pulitzer-Prize winning Charleston Gazette-Mail reportedly filed a lawsuit alleging that Google and Facebook were working in conjunction to control the digital advertising space.

It’s an argument already at the center of a massive anti-trust dispute, and a focus of the Trump administration before Joe Biden entered the White House.

Speaking to Fox News, Doug Reynolds, who owns the newspaper, said that his lawsuit is accusing Facebook and Google of conspiring to “monopolize and dominate the digital media space.”

“The newspaper industry over the last ten years has been making this transfer to digital media, and what we found is, as we’ve gone into this world, that Google and Facebook make the rules of the game, they control the whole environment,” he added. “They compete against us for advertising dollars.”

Reynolds also stressed how important it is for the lawsuit to go ahead given just how many newspapers are shutting down as traditional media gets drowned out by online platforms. He said that roughly 200 newspaper companies have now closed nationally and that if local journalism is to survive, then it needs to find new ways to finance their operations online.

That means finding a “different way” than the current digital advertising setup, which is controlled by Facebook and Google. He described existing advertising options as not being an “open and even playing field.”

Reynolds also added that his newspaper is “dependent on [its] readers and that [they] empower citizens every day to make a positive impact in their community.”

“We believe it’s something that needs to continue,” he added.

Neither Google nor Facebook responded to requests for comment from Fox.

The interesting lawsuit comes at a time when social media platforms, along with Google, are facing increasing scrutiny for the control they assert over the online advertising space.

In Australia, Google is considering shutting down its operations entirely after the nation’s parliament revealed “world-first” legislation that would require Big Tech to pay local news outlets if they feature and link to their stories. The legislation has won the support of Microsoft, but Google has strongly opposed the plans and threatened to leave Australia as it would “break a fundamental principle of how the web works.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison criticized Google for refusing to work with the nation’s parliament, and told the country that “we don’t respond to threats.”

Is the tide turning on Big Tech…or do we have to wait until a Republican is back in the White House?