Social Media

Australia to make Google and Facebook pay for news content

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on July 31, 2020

The code of conduct will initially serve Facebook and Google and later be extended to other digital platforms as well

‘Mandatory code of conduct’ to help media industry that is struggling due to pandemic; digital giants oppose move

Austalia has formulated a draft report on Friday necessitating Google and Facebook to pay for news media content in a ‘world-leading’ initiative, Agence France Presse reported.

The news was announced by Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg who established the “mandatory code of conduct” that will look into the relationship between the struggling news industry and digital giants. This comes after 18 months of long failed negotiations between the two sides.

The code of conduct also includes access to user data, transparency of algorithms, and ranking of content in the platforms' search results.

Briefing media, Frydenberg said: “Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake with these changes.”

The treasurer added that the legislation will soon be introduced in Parliament and will include “substantial penalties” to the digital giants if they do not adhere to the code of conduct.

The code of conduct will initially serve Facebook and Google and later be extended to other digital platforms as well.

The step has been taken to help media industry which has almost collapsed due to the pandemic and witnessed the sacking of hundreds of journalists.

“Today's draft legislation will draw the attention of many regulatory agencies and many governments around the world,” Frydenberg said, calling the initiative a “world-leading regulatory framework,” AFP report added.

Digital giants plan to boycott media

Meanwhile, Facebook and Google have condemned the decision and said that they are not going to share their advertising revenues with the news industry.

The firms are ready to boycott Australian media if a mandatory payment system is imposed on them.

Facebook and Google have strongly opposed any move forcing them to share advertising revenue, hinting they could simply boycott Australian media if mandatory payments are imposed.

Recently, social media giant Facebook has posted its quarterly earnings of $1.80 per share, exceeding the estimated $1.37, on revenue of $18.69 billion, also topping the estimated $17.40 billion.

Google's parent company Alphabet posted $10.13 earnings per share on $38.30 billion in revenue.

Published on July 31, 2020

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