Facebook, Google classified as media firms in Brazil

SAO PAULO • A Brazilian agency which sets the commercial rules of the advertising market has approved a resolution to classify technology companies like Google and Facebook as media companies, a move which could subject digital platforms to the same rules faced by other media.

Google and Facebook have long identified themselves as tech companies, instead of media companies, which would exempt them from responsibility for the content that users post.

Brazil's Conselho Executivo das Normas-Padrao (CENP), or Standard Norms Executive Council, said last month that it recognises all legal entities receiving revenues from their "ability to transmit advertising messages" as disclosure or communication vehicles for "the purposes of the legislation in force".

In its July 16 resolution, it lists for the first time "Internet-Search, Internet-Social, Internet-Video, Internet-Audio, Internet-Display and Others", along with magazines and newspapers, as disclosure or communication vehicles. By such definition, the vehicles would include Google, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube platforms, said the Folha de S.Paulo news site.

Wan-Ifra, a global organisation of the world's press with 3,000 news publishing companies and tech entrepreneurs in its network, said CENP's initiative had the support of its member, the Brazilian Newspaper Association.

Although it is private, CENP is cited in Brazilian law and recognised as qualified to certify the technical qualification of advertising agencies operating in the environment of the so-called Brazilian Advertising Model, said Wan-Ifra.

Social media services, which allow users to read and share for free online news content that these platform do not own, have been blamed for the decline of advertising and subscription revenues of traditional news media outlets, which have been struggling to maintain their resources for news reporting.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2019, with the headline 'Facebook, Google classified as media firms in Brazil'. Print Edition | Subscribe