Lawsuit Accuses Google, Facebook of Throttling Local Newspapers with Online Ad Monopoly


A West Virginia news publisher has filed an antitrust suit against Google and Facebook, who together receive roughly half of all digital ad dollars in the U.S. and are facing antitrust charges from federal and state authorities.

The company, HD Media, owns several papers in the state, including the Herald-Dispatch in Huntington and the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

HD Media claims Google has so monopolized the online ad market that “it threatens the extinction of local newspapers across the country.”

The suit also alleges that Google and Facebook conspired to further their dominance with a secret agreement, referring to a suit filed by 10 Republican attorneys general in December.

The company does not specify the impact on its business of the behavior of Facebook and Google beyond saying that it has hurt its ability to “effectively monetize its content” because Google is allowed to take an uncompetitive share of the news publisher’s ad revenues.

Chip and Joanna Gaines Accused of Going 'Woke' After Controversial Social Media Post

A lawyer for the company declined to speak on the record.

It’s the first antitrust lawsuit against a tech platform focused on news publishing, according to David Chavern, head of the news trade group News Media Alliance. He said the group was not involved in the suit.

HD Media filed in federal court in West Virginia and asked for a jury trial. It asked for unspecified damages and that the court stop the uncompetitive conduct it is alleging.

The newspaper industry has been on a long decline, with steep job losses and publications disappearing. Online ad revenues have been unable to offset print ad losses.

Do you think Google and Facebook have unfairly cornered the market?

Federal and state antitrust authorities have sued both Google and Facebook in recent months. The Justice Department alleges that Google abuses its dominance in online search and advertising.

Facebook didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

Google referred a reporter to a blog post published in mid-January by its director of economic policy, Adam Cohen, that defends Google’s business against antitrust charges brought by the Texas attorney general in December.

[jwplayer Bc00pI7P]

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , ,
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City