By Rob Taylor 
 

CANBERRA, Australia--The Australian government is set to regulate the power of multinational digital companies after the country's antitrust regulator called for reforms to rein in their influence over news and advertising markets.

Australia's competition watchdog has been one of the first in the world to scrutinize the impact tech giants have on advertising and news, raising concerns among such companies that its findings could lead other countries to tighten their own regulations.

Australia Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Friday that, after a 12-month investigation, the government has "no option" but to reform the sector to address serious concerns about the way tech firms including Facebook Inc. (FB) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) handle the private data of consumers and use their market power.

"These digital platforms have grown rapidly and are posing challenges to authorities the world over," Mr. Frydenberg told journalists. "The world has never seen so much data collected and aggregated among two companies."

The government will hold a three-month consultation process to choose what measures to take, he said, with a decision to be given later this year.

 

Write to Rob Taylor at rob.taylor@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 25, 2019 21:57 ET (01:57 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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