The German media regulators classify Google News Showcase as a media platform and user interface and thus oblige the Internet company to comply with legal transparency provisions. The state media authorities announced this on Thursday after a meeting of the commission for approval and supervision.
The provisions of the State Media Treaty, for example for media platforms and user interfaces, stipulate that content providers must be granted non-discriminatory access to the respective platform. It must also be made transparent which principles apply to the selection and presentation of offers.
Google not surprised
Content from participating press publishers is presented on the Google News Showcase portal, which has been offered by Google in Germany since autumn 2020.
The coordinator of the specialist committee for networks, technology, convergence, Thorsten Schmiege, said: “More transparency about the functioning of media platforms and user interfaces leads to more orientation and clarity. The decision is a clear sign – especially in the interests of users: We demand transparency from all national and international providers if their offers are intended for use in Germany. “Schmiege is also President of the Bavarian State Center for New Media (BLM ).
According to its own information, Google counted on this classification. In response to a dpa request, a Google spokesman announced the decision that they would continue to work with the regulators to discuss the related requirements. In this context, the group also referred to an earlier decision by the state media authorities on Google News Showcase. In June they formally rejected complaints from regional publishers that did not take part in the offer.
The media houses had feared disadvantages for themselves, but the regulators pointed out that the publishers had “not actively sought” to participate in the offer. The complaints related to a discrimination clause in the State Media Treaty, which applies to media intermediaries who have more of a gatekeeper role than aggregators – unlike media platforms and user interfaces.