MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – In a federal lawsuit, the publisher of the Lagniappe is taking on Silicon Valley giants that have grabbed billions of dollars of advertising away from print publications.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Mobile, accuses Google and Facebook of violating antitrust law.
“Defendants’ anticompetitive and monopolistic practices have had a profound effect upon our country’s free and diverse press, particularly the newspaper industry,” the civil complaint states. “Since 2006, newspaper advertising revenue, which is critical for funding high-quality journalism, fell by more than 50%. Newspaper advertising has declined from $49 billion in 2006 to $16.5 billion in 2017. As a result of these falling revenues, the existence of the newspaper industry is threatened.”
The suit cites data form the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that 30,000 newspaper jobs disappeared from 1990 to 2016. That represents a 60 percent industry decline. Over the past 14 years, almost 20 percent of all newspapers have closed, the suit states.
The complaint quotes a report from the University of North Carolina arguing that “countless others have become shells—or ‘ghosts’—of themselves.”
The suit seeks unspecified damages, as well as a court order prohibiting the defendants from engaging in the conduct alleged in the…