David faces Goliath
MMC sues Facebook, Google
Multi Media Channels, LLC, the owner of this newspaper, has taken a bold step. We are suing Google and Facebook alleging they engaged in anti-competitive practices in violation of federal antitrust laws. Because of the importance of this lawsuit to the existence of our country’s free and diverse press, we are publishing our 41-page Amended Complaint in its entirety, as part of our service to the public.
The Amended Complaint alleges that the unlawful practices of these two Big Tech giants, which includes a secret price-fixing agreement they code-named “Jedi Blue,” have monopolized the digital advertising market thereby strangling a primary source of revenue for local newspapers across the country. As advertising revenues for local newspapers—which are necessary to sustain good quality journalism and local reporting—have withered, Google and Facebook have made billions of dollars. The decrease in advertising revenues has had a profound impact upon local news: More than 2,000 local newspapers have closed since 2004 and nearly half of all newsrooms have disappeared.
One might be tempted to say, “Tough cookies, that’s competition.” We would agree if the competition was fair. We allege that it is not, and we look forward to proving our case in court.
We filed our lawsuit because we believe the conduct of Google and Facebook undermines the health of our communities and the strength of our republican form of government. As stated in our Amended Complaint:
“A free and diverse press is essential to a vibrant democracy. Whether exposing corruption in government, informing citizens, or holding power to account, independent journalism sustains our democracy by facilitating public discourse.” — Complaint, p. 9, ¶ 25
We did not come lightly to our decision. Facebook and Google are many times bigger than we are, and their resources outmatch ours to an almost inconceivable extent. This is a true David vs. Goliath story. Despite this mismatch in size, we are moving forward, believing that our case is just and serves the interests of our local communities, the state of Wisconsin and indeed the nation.
We urge you to read the Complaint in its entirety, or at least skim it. Some of the allegations may shock you; or perhaps, in this age of big getting bigger, they may not surprise you at all. We are certain, however, that whether you are surprised or just informed, you will develop a deeper understanding of what is at stake as local newspapers fight for their very survival.
The full legal complaint against Google/Facebook is available on this publication’s website and is free for all to read. To access the document, visit https://mmcebooks.a2hosted.com/2021/06/08/david-faces-goliath-2021/.
Multi Media Channels