Australia to Force Google, Facebook to Pay Media for Content

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Australia will reportedly force Facebook and Google to share advertising revenue with local media companies, according to the country’s treasurer.

Reuters reports that Australia plans to force Facebook and Google to pay local media firms a cut of advertising revenue for using their content on digital platforms, according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. The move comes after talks with Facebook and Google reportedly failed to result in a voluntary code to address complaints by members of the media in Australia that tech giants have too much control over advertising, the main source of income for media companies.

Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra: “We understand the challenge that we face, this is a big mountain to climb. These are big companies that we are dealing with but there is also so much at stake, so we’re prepared for this fight.” The government has asked Australia’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop a mandatory code of conduct between media outlets and digital platforms.

The government hopes to develop a voluntary code by November but has now asked the ACCC to submit a draft of its mandatory code of conduct by July to be passed into legislation shortly afterward. Frydenberg stated that the mandatory code would include the sharing of data, ranking, and display of news content and the sharing of revenue generated from news content. Frydenberg stated that a penalty would also be established and binding dispute resolution mechanisms.

“We’re disappointed by the government’s announcement, especially as we’ve worked hard to meet their agreed deadline,” Facebook Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Will Easton said in an emailed statement. “We’ve invested millions of dollars locally to support Australian publishers through content arrangements, partnerships and training for the industry.”

A Google spokesperson stated: “We have sought to work constructively with industry, the ACCC and government to develop a code of conduct, and we will continue to do so in the revised process set out by the Government today.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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