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Australia is About to Force Google and Facebook to Pay for News Content through a New Mandate

Australian Government Mandating Google and Facebook Pay for News Content

Credit: Engadget

The government of Australia plans to make internet giants Facebook and Google pay for news content through a coming mandate…

Since their inception, internet titans like Google and Facebook have stringently resisted compensating news outlets for their work product. These digital corporations insist that they are merely aggregating or linking to news content and therefore, they aren’t obligated to pay for it. Now, that’s changing as the Australian government is about to force companies like Facebook and Google, to compensate news organizations for their content.

Australian Government Mandating Google and Facebook Pay for News Content

Soon, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC, will create a mandatory code of conduct that will direct Google and Facebook — along with others — to pay news outlets when they use their content. Additionally, the new rules would outline handling of data sharing, news ranking, as well as revenue sharing.

Not only would the Australian government compel internet companies to compensate news organizations for linking to their content, it would also impose penalties for not following through, along with a binding resolution process to handle any disputes.

When first under consideration, Australia would construct a voluntary code. But, with the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting hit to ad revenue, the government quickly shifted toward a mandatory model. A draft version of the rules should be ready by the end of July.

Will Easton, Facebook’s Managing Director for the region tells Engadget:

“We’re disappointed by the Government’s announcement, especially as we’ve worked hard to meet their agreed deadline. COVID-19 has impacted every business and industry across the country, including publishers, which is why we announced a new, global investment to support news organisations at a time when advertising revenue is declining. We believe that strong innovation and more transparency around the distribution of news content is critical to building a sustainable news ecosystem. We’ve invested millions of dollars locally to support Australian publishers through content arrangements, partnerships and training for the industry and hope the code will protect the interests of millions of Australians and small businesses that use our services every day.”

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