Geoffrey Manne in the Washington Post: Facebook/Google not to blame for newspaper woes

Zephyr Teachout, attorney general candidate in New York state, has called for a break up of Google and Facebook partially on the grounds that their share of the digital ad market harms traditional newspapers. Quoted in the Washington Post, ICLE President Geoffrey Manne rebuts this claim:

Facebook and Google account for a majority of the U.S. digital ad market — an estimated 56.8 percent, according to the research firm eMarketer. But that dominance may be slipping, eMarketer said, as companies such as Amazon and Snap gain market share.

Some antitrust experts said newspapers are helped, not hurt, by tech companies that distribute their content to large online audiences. And, they said, some outlets’ financial woes can be traced to the proliferation of competing sources of information, such as blogs and new online publications.

“Papers that are struggling are those that can’t compete with a much expanded market or that refuse to enter the digital age,” said Geoffrey Manne, executive director of the International Center for Law and Economics, a Portland, Ore.-based think tank. “But this idea that a Facebook/Google ‘duopoly’ is to blame is simply wrong. This is pure politics.”

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