Facebook and Google to pay for news in Australia, for the first time in the world

Published: July 31, 2020

In a first of its kind move, Australia has made it mandatory that tech giants Google and Facebook will have to pay the media outlets in the country for the news content used by these companies. This is aimed at protecting the future of independent journalism in the country and this move will be keenly watched around the world.

Highlights

Australia has become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for new content provided by the media companies within the realm of a royalty-style system that will become law this year in the nation. This is akin to ensuring a fair go for Australian media business since the country has increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable media landscape in the country.

Background

This news has come on the backdrop of the worldwide enquiries against the tech giants regarding data privacy violation and breach of trust. The companies have been criticized in the US also for abusing market power. The decision by the Australian government has come following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the US platforms and an appeal to negotiating a voluntary deal with the media companies in the country.

Why is this necessary in Australia?

A study in 2019 estimated that about 3000 journalism jobs have been lost in Australia in the past 10 years due to the decreasing advertising revenue of the traditional media companies in Australia and the biggest beneficiaries have been Google and Facebook. For every $100 spent on online advertising in Australia, excluding the classifieds, nearly a third goes to Google and Facebook.

Global Scenario

A host of the other countries have also come up with rules in this regard but they have mostly failed to control these tech giants. Publishers in Germany, France and Spain have pushed to pass national copyright laws that force Google to pay licensing fees whenever they publish snippets of their news articles on the search engine. In 2019, Google stopped showing news snippets from European Publishers on search results to the French users whereas Germany’s biggest news publisher had to allow the search giant use the snippets of its articles after traffic to its sites had plunged following the imposition of restrictions on Google.

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