Reportedly, Australia will be forcing both the U.S. tech giants Facebook and Google to pay fees to Australian media outlets for news content. The move is to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world. This sanction will make Australia’s first country to require a royalty-style system for Facebook and Google for news content, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses. It’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection, and a sustainable media landscape.” He added, “Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake.”
The move comes when the tech giants fend off calls for greater regulation around the world. Later last year, the Australian government told that Facebook and Google will negotiate a deal voluntarily with media companies to use their content.
Now, Canberra says if they do not reach an agreement through arbitration within 45 days then the Australian Communications and Media Authority would set legally binding terms on behalf of the government.
In a statement, Mel Silva, managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, said “It sends a concerning message to businesses and investors that the Australian government will intervene instead of letting the market work.” Further adding “It does nothing to solve the fundamental challenges of creating a business model fit for the digital age.”
According to a 2019 study, in the past 10 years, about 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in Australia. Traditional media companies have paid nothing for news content while themselves bleeding by spending heavily to advertise on Google and Facebook.
According to Frydenberg, in Australia, for every $100 spent on online advertising nearly a third goes to Google and Facebook, excluding classifieds. Publishers in France, Germany, and Spain have pushed to pass national copyright laws. Under these laws will Google will be forced to pay licensing fees whenever it will publish its news articles.
In 2019, Google stopped displaying snippets of news from European publishers on search results. Axel Springer, Germany’s biggest news publisher, allowed the engine to run its snippets after its site’s traffic plunged.