Making Google and Facebook pay Australian news publishers might be good politics, but it is odd economics.
If the ACCC takes one of the tech giants to court for breach of the code, the penalty could be more than $10 million.
The watchdog has voiced concerns over the proposed US$2.1 billion merger, from which both users and Australian health services could lose out.
As news media revenues tumble still further amid the COVID-19 recession, the government has pledged mandatory rules to force tech giants to pay for using news content.
The ACCC's inquiry was launched to address concerns about the market power of major digital platforms, such as Google and Facebook, and their impact on Australia's businesses and media.
Regulators are beginning to tackle big tech companies' hidden use of consumer data.
The ACCC has inquired into mortgage rates before. This time it will want detail.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the sheer dominance of Google and Facebook has distorted other businesses' ability to compete on their own merits.
The ACCC would like closer scrutiny of digital platforms such as Facebook and Google – in particular with regards to user privacy, market power and operational algorithms.