Australia will force Facebook and Google to pay for press

Australian authorities yesterday closed a plan to force Facebook and Google to pay newspapers for using news content, the world’s first move to protect independent media.

Under a bill to be presented to parliament this week, Australian Finance Minister Josh Frydenberg said the aforementioned tech companies must negotiate with local newspapers and television stations for how much they pay for content to appear. on their platform. If they can’t reach an agreement, the government-appointed arbitrator will make the decision.

Many newspapers in Australia have to lay off their employees because of declining sales. In the photo: The Age of Melbourne’s Press

Mr. Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra: “This is a major reform, the first time in the world and the world is watching what is happening in Australia”.

“Our laws will help ensure that the rules of the digital world reflect the rules of the physical world … and ultimately maintain our media environment,” said Frydenberg. quoted by Reuters.

This act is considered to be the most powerful test of the market power of global tech giants. In August, US technology companies warned that they could stop providing their services in Australia.

Facebook Australia CEO Will Easton said yesterday the company will review the bill’s terms in detail and “participate in the upcoming parliamentary discussion with the goal of reaching a viable framework to support the bill. support Australia’s news ecosystem ”.

A representative for Google declined to comment, saying that the company has yet to obtain a final version of the draft law.

Until recently, most countries did nothing while seeing advertisers redirect spending to the world’s largest search engine and social media sites, causing newsrooms to lose money, many newspapers and television stations had to close and news workers lost their jobs on a large scale.

But regulators are starting to find ways to curb two large corporations that account for more than four-fifths of Australia’s online ad spending, according to Frydenberg. This year, a French regulator asked Google to negotiate with newspapers about payment for news content, and the matter is still being handled by the court.

“It is both very ambitious and very essential,” said Denis Muller, Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Center for Progressive Press.

“Taking news content without paying for the” reward “of” helping the press reach the readers “seems to be a very unfair and ultimately undermining arrangement of democracy.”
News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller said the bill was “an important step forward in a decade-long campaign to achieve fairness in media relations. Australia and global technology giants ”. News Corp in May stopped printing more than 100 newspapers in Australia, citing declining advertising.

Google and Facebook have long argued that media organizations are ignoring the benefits they gain from their website referrals and clicks.

Minister Josh said advertising revenue in areas such as print newspapers in Australia has dropped 75% since 2005.

“For every $ 100 spent on online advertising, $ 53 for Google, $ 28 for Facebook and $ 19 for others,” ABC quoted Josh Frydenberg.

The Australian Communications Minister said social media companies would be encouraged to negotiate with press agencies about how much they would pay to access news content. The exact rate will be determined by both parties. Smaller media companies can also combine to bargain in groups.

The bill also requires Google and Facebook to notify news agencies 14 days prior to any change in their algorithm (preferring how news content appears on a website).

According to the TPO

What prospects for paid news?

What prospects for paid news?

For a long time, most of the news on the Internet was considered by readers as “free lunch”. Whether or not to build a form of paid journalism is an eternal topic in the global press.


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