Google slows Australia’s plan for tech giants to pay for news content
Google slows Australia’s plans for tech giants to pay for news content
Sydney: US technology giant Google on Monday forced digital giants to pay for news content as part of an aggressive plan that showed users that their personal data would be “at risk”.
Australia announced last month that firms such as Google and Facebook would have to pay the news media for content, after 18 months of negotiations ended without agreement.
Landmark measures would include fines of millions of dollars for noncompliance and force transparency around proximity algorithms firms used to rank content.
Google is now fighting a rearguard action to prevent the measures from being implemented – and was accused by Australia of spreading “misinformation” in the process.
On Monday it popped up in a new homepage telling users that “the way Australians use Google is at risk” and that their search experience “would be hurt by the changes”.
The technology titan linked to an open letter claiming that it would force users to hand over search data to news media companies and give them information that would help artificially increase their ranking “above other websites” “.
Google says it can “risk” its free services by already paying millions of dollars with the Australian news media and sending billions of clicks each year, suggesting changes.
“But instead of encouraging this type of partnership, legislation has been instituted to give big media companies special treatment and encourage them to make heavy and unreasonable demands, which would put our free services at risk.”
The law would initially focus on the world’s two richest and most powerful companies, Facebook and Google – but could eventually apply to any digital platform.
Australia’s proposals are being closely watched around the world, as regulators focus their attention on the rapidly changing sector.
News media around the world have suffered a loss in the digital economy, where large tech companies heavily capture advertising revenue.
The crisis has been averted by the economic collapse caused by the coronovirus epidemic, dozens of Australian newspapers have closed and hundreds of journalists have been dismissed in recent months.
In contrast to the hitherto unsuccessful attempts to force platforms to pay for news from other countries, the Australian initiative relies on competition law rather than copyright rules.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which is drafting the government’s code of conduct, said in Google’s open letter that it was “misinformation”.
The consumer watchdog said Digital Bemoth “would not be required” to charge Australians for sharing additional user data with news media or using its free services “unless it chooses to do so “.
“The draft code will allow Australian news businesses to negotiate for the proper payment for the work of their journalists, which is included on Google services,” it said in a statement.
It has strong support from local media outlets and is expected to be introduced this year.