Cantwell report warns that Google and Facebook are killing local journalism as CEOs testify at Senate

Sen. Maria Cantwell discusses net neutrality at a 2017 town hall in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

The technology industry is pushing local journalism over the edge, according to a new report from the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state.

The report released Tuesday predicts that by the end of 2020, newspaper revenue will be down 70% compared to 20 years ago and broadcast revenues will dip more than 40%. The losses have created “news deserts” in 200 counties across the U.S. where there are no local newspapers covering their communities. More than 400,000 newsroom employees have been laid off, 60% of the nation’s local journalism jobs, according to the report.

“Local news has been hijacked by a few large news aggregation platforms, most notably Google and Facebook, which have become the dominant players in online advertising,” the report says. “These trillion-dollar companies scrape local

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Report released by Sen. Maria Cantwell slams Google and Facebook for decimating local news outlets

“Unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices” by tech giants Google and Facebook have suffocated local news outlets, contributing to a critical deficit of trustworthy local journalism, according to a new minority report from the Senate Commerce Committee released by ranking member Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

The report, echoing a landmark antitrust suit filed last week against Google by the Justice Department, concludes that Google and Facebook have used their sheer heft to dominate the digital advertising market, to the detriment of local media outlets and an informed public.

“These trillion-dollar companies scrape local news content and data for their own sites and leverage their market dominance to force local news to accept little to nothing for their intellectual property,” the report claims. “There is a clear need for Congress to address the market failures created by the search and social-media platforms.”

The report from the Commerce Committee’s Democratic minority recommends

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