Teknoku.me – The Australian government has new laws that will regulate technology giants like Google and Facebook in curating news.
This law, called the News Media Bargaining Code Law, requires technology companies to pay commissions to media companies for every news article that appears in snippets and links on Google Search, or that is shared on Facebook.
The discussion of the law was carried out after investigators found that Google and Facebook controlled the media industry. From the results of these investigations, the Australian government suspects Google is reaping huge profits from online advertising.
Though most of Google’s content comes from media organizations. Australia thinks this will pose a potential threat to democracy in its country.
At first, he refused
At first, Google and Facebook insisted on rejecting the rule. In fact, both of them threatened to leave the Kangaroo Country.
“After looking at this law in detail and considering the financial and operational risks, we have found no alternative way to continue offering our services in Australia,” Mel Silva, Vice President of Google Australia and New Zealand told the Australian Senate Economics Legislation Committee.
Google believes that the law has a very broad context. Also, paying for content that appears on snippets or links on Google Search will damage the web’s working system.
Thus, Australians are threatened with life without Google Search. This is because Google is tied to news content or article links on its search engine.
The same is done by Facebook. This social networking company blocks media company accounts on its platform. As a result, Australians are unable to read and share news on Facebook.
“The laws that apply in Australia actually misrepresent how the content of news creators spread on Facebook,” said Facebook, quoted from The Verge.
“This raises two options, namely following the applicable regulations, or blocking all news content in Australia. With a heavy heart, we choose the second one,” wrote Facebook.
Users outside Australia are also affected
Although the blockade only occurred in Australia, it was also affected by other international users and media. Facebook users outside Australia, for example, will not be able to view news posts from Australia.
Likewise, with international media companies, their news will not reach Facebook users in Australia. Facebook notes that blocking news content in Australia has no impact on their business.
Because, according to Facebook, of all the content on the timeline (News Feed), news content is only 4 percent.
Likely, the blocking will actually have an impact on Australian media companies that rely on Facebook as a channel to share their news.
Facebook noted that media companies in Australia as a whole have benefited from the content they broadcast on Facebook up to 407 million US dollars.
Ask to be Revised
Google asked the Australian legislature to revise the law so that it is clearer and not too broad in context. The Australian legislator finally accepted the request.
Several points were amended to clarify the Bargaining Code Law News Media Law. The point of change is that the government should consider commercial agreements between digital platforms and local news organizations before issuing further regulations.
Technology companies should also be given a month’s notice before the rules take effect. Another point is that technology companies are given an additional two months to conclude commercial deals with news organizations.
The government must also consider whether the digital platforms that have made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry must also pay commissions according to the applicable regulations or not.
This point actually creates debate between politicians and media companies. Because there are concerns that Facebook and Google will be exempted from this law without having to pay commissions to media companies.
It is feared that this will harm small publishers and will only benefit large media companies.
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed that it will give Facebook and Google time to reach an agreement with Australian media companies first before deciding to enforce the new rules.
After the amendment, the Australian government will immediately pass the News Media Bargaining Code Act. Full revision points can be seen at the following link.
After being revised, Facebook finally melted down. The company made by Mark Zuckerberg promised to return to showcase news content for Australians in the coming days.
Facebook Australia & New Zealand Managing Director William Easton said he was “satisfied” that the Australian government approved several changes and made guarantees to address Facebook’s concerns.
Facebook’s VP of Global News Partnership, Campbell Brown, also said Facebook remains in control of choosing what news and from which will appear on their social networks.
Not only re-presenting news content, but Facebook is also boasting that it will increase investment in public journalism through the program The Facebook Journalism Project. The program provides training, programming, and partnerships with news organizations and publishers.
Previously, Google first submitted to the Australian government. Google agreed to pay to Rupert Murdoch’s media company, News Corporation.
News Corporation is home to several well-known international media companies with operations in the US and Australia, such as The Sun, The Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Australian.
Murdoch himself is an Australian-born conglomerate who now has United States citizenship. It did not say how much it was worth.
But according to the Guardian report, the News Corporation received a “significant payment”. This collaboration includes the Google News Showcase program which will run for the next three years.
Google News Showcase is a program to help news organizations publish and promote their stories online. Media companies that are part of the program will receive payment for their journalists’ expertise.
Also, there are investments to increase video journalism and the development of subscription platforms.
“This (decision) has been exciting for our company for more than a decade and I am delighted that trade terms have changed, not only for News Corp but for all publishers,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corporation, compiled from BBC.