6 keys to understanding Australia’s dispute with Google and Facebook
The dispute between the Australian government with Google and Facebook it has aroused interest around the world.
A bill, the first of its kind in the world, seeks to get tech giants to pay the media to spread their news content.
It is intended to compensate for the advertising revenue that the media fails to receive in favor of US technology companies.
If passed, the law could have global consequences for large internet firms, but also for the way news is accessed online.
The response from the internet giants was swift.
Facebook has implemented a restriction on news content on AustraliaTherefore, the inhabitants of that country can no longer see what the media publishes.
Google initially threatened to cut Australians out of its services, although in recent days it has struck deals with several local media companies.
These are 6 keys to understanding what is happening.
1. What started it all
For a long time, in different parts of the world there has been concern about the dominance of the news market by technology companies, to the detriment of the media.
As in many countries, Google is the dominant search engine in Australia and the government has described its service as an almost essential utility, with little competition in the market.
And social media is also a key source of information.
According to a 2020 report from Reuters Institute, 52% of Australians said they use social media as a source of news.
Facebook ranked first, followed by YouTube and Facebook Messenger.
But in 2018, an Australian government regulator launched an investigation into Google and Facebook’s impact on media competition and advertising.
Investigation of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found a power imbalance between technology companies and the media.
Given this, the regulator recommended introducing a code of conduct that, it considered, would level the playing field.
In July of last year, the Australian government released a bill to enforce the code, prompting threats from Facebook and Google to withdraw their services from the country.
2. What is the news code?
The project asks tech companies to pay for media content, although it does not define its value.
The law would allow news companies to negotiate en bloc with technology companies for content that appears in their news sources and search results.
If the negotiations fail, the matter would be arbitrated by the Australian Media and Communications Authority.
The fines could be around $ 7 million for non-compliance or 10% of the company’s local turnover.
The government says the code will initially focus on Google and Facebook, but it could be expanded to other tech companies.
The law has broad political support and has been passed by the lower house of the Australian Parliament.
3. Why do you think the law is necessary?
The Australian government has argued that tech giants should pay newsrooms a “fair” amount for the journalism they do.
Further, they argue that financial support is necessary for Australia’s news industry to survive, as strong media are seen as vital to democracy.
The media, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia, have lobbied hard for the government to force internet firms to come to the negotiating table.
This while the media faces a prolonged drop in advertising revenue.
Facebook, however, argues that “the exchange of value between Facebook and publishers is in favor of publishers”, according to the firm’s manager for Australia and New Zealand, William Easton.
He believes that media companies generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue: “Publishers voluntarily choose to publish news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, increase their audience and increase advertising revenue,” he says.
But Australian competition regulator says that for every US $ 100 spent on online advertising, Google keeps US $ 53, Facebook US $ 28 and the rest is shared among others.
Meanwhile, Google’s profits have risen markedly in the same period, reaching more than $ 160 billion globally in 2019.
4. Facebook’s reaction
The company of Mark Zuckerberg no longer allows Australian users to share or view news.
The social media giant said the proposed law “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers.”
Facebook said the legislation had left them “facing a tough choice: to try to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship or to stop allowing news content on our services in Australia.”
“With heavy hearts, we are choosing the latter,” they said.
5. Google’s response
Google had threatened to remove its Australian search engine if the law passed.
But now he says he agreed to pay News Corp., by Rupert Murdoch, for the content of news sites across his media empire.
As part of the three-year deal, News Corp indicated that it would collaborate with Google on a subscription platform, share the advertising revenue and invest in video journalism on YouTube.
Google has also announced deals with other Australian media companies
It’s unclear what actions Google will take if the proposed law passes.
6. Could you set a world precedent?
Some Australian politicians and media experts believe that this regulation could be expanded to other countries.
Australian Senator Rex Patrick predicted that this legislation “will spread to the whole world.” When addressing Google, he asked them: “They won’t come out of all the markets? Or will they?”
Unlike Google and Facebook, Microsoft has supported the bill.
“The code reasonably attempts to address the imbalance in negotiating power between digital platforms and Australian news outlets,” the company noted this month.
In Europe there is a different but similar attempt.
A controversial new European Union copyright regulation says search engines and “news aggregators” should pay the media for links.
In France, publishers reached a deal with Google, but only a handful of these deals have been signed with large French newspapers, making it very different from far-reaching Australian plans, which are much stricter.
And there have been other differences between governments and large technology firms, as some countries or blocs such as the European Union they have sought to regulate technology companies such as Google or Facebook.
Europe is looking to tackle illegal and harmful content on online platforms and regulate the use of customer data, while in the US tech companies have been questioned in Congress on whether they have become too dominant.
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BBC-NEWS-SRC: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-56119176, IMPORTING DATE: 2021-02-19 06:10:03