The Australian government has come up with a new code after the country’s competition regulator, ACCC, said in a report that technology pioneers like Google and Facebook were more than just mediators in the provision of news.
Australia is expected to introduce a controversial bill in Parliament on Wednesday that may require Facebook to block news from being shared on its Down Under platforms. The government has come up with a new code after Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), said in a report that technology giants such as Google and Facebook were more than mediators in the media.
The competitive exhibition noted that tech giants perform the same functions as media businesses, such as selecting, rating and storing content. Australia’s leading news publishers want Google and Facebook to pay at least 10 percent of their advertising revenue to new local organizations.
The bill could force major technology companies such as Google and Facebook to share advertising revenue with local news companies and broadcasters. Prior to the introduction of the bill, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stressed that Big Tech companies should negotiate with local publishers and broadcasters on the sharing of advertising revenue. Calling it a “global” change, the treasurer said the law would protect Australian media.
“Our law will help ensure that the laws of the digital world are similar to the laws of the physical world … and ultimately maintain our state of the art,” Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra.
Why would Facebook block news content from being shared?
Both technology companies are opposed to the bill, saying it will affect users’ knowledge in the country. Facebook recently wrote on the blog that the new law does not fully understand “the power of the internet”, warning that the law will harm “the very media organizations the government is trying to protect.” The media giant threatened to block Australian publishers and people from sharing domestic and international news on its forums.
“This is not our first choice – it is our last. But the only way to protect yourself from unintended and harmful consequences, not to help, is the long-term devastation of the media and media in Australia, ”writes Will Easton, Executive Director, Facebook Australia and New Zealand.
How can Google retaliate?
A Google Australian official has warned that the proposed code will force the company to provide Australian users with Google Search and YouTube “worse”. In an open letter, Mel Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia, said the law could also cause data to be passed on to major media outlets.
“We always treat all website owners well when it comes to sharing information about quality. The proposed changes are incorrect and mean that the results of Google Search and YouTube will be worse for you, ”read the letter.