The tough bid between Australia and Facebook for news on the internet
“Facebook will restrict the ability of news organizations and individuals in that country to share or view local or international news content.” With this phrase, the social network moved its tab in a long game that technology companies have been playing against Australia for a specific reason: the country is advancing a bill in which it seeks that these types of companies pay the media to spread their news.
The dispute has been developing in recent years due to the great control that Internet companies have over digital advertising, which has put media of all sizes in trouble.
(You may be interested: Why did Facebook block news from the media in Australia?)
Australia’s commitment is not new, although it is much more complete than some countries have decided to undertake, and it is framed in a position that seeks for these companies to have stricter regulations. Some steps have already been taken: by 2019, The European Union determined that these platforms had to pay an amount to the media to which they linked their news.
In the Australian case, the Government decided to take action on the matter due to the crisis suffered by local media due to the pandemic, which has led to the closure of some of them.
In this, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission determined that in that country, For every $ 100 that is spent on digital advertising, Google keeps US $ 53 and Facebook, with US $ 28, leaving only US $ 19 in the bag that is distributed among the others.
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The Australian bill has not gone down well with the tech giants as it is seen as an attack on their business model. This led to the fact that last Thursday, Facebook users in Australia could no longer access news content within the social network, nor that the media accounts could publish it.
William Easton, CEO of Facebook Australia and New Zealand, said the company’s decision has an international impact for the Australian media.
“At a global level, the possibility of publishing and sharing news links from Australian media will also be restricted. To do this, we use a combination of technologies and we will have processes in place to review any content that may be inadvertently or erroneously blockedEaston said.
With this, the media in Australia will be able to access their Facebook pages, but they will not be able to publish news. They will be allowed to make use of other functions and tools such as interactions with their followers and monitoring trends.
(We recommend you read: Microsoft supports search engines paying for news)
As for international media, they will be able to share news links, but these will not be able to be seen by users in Australia.
“We hope that in the future the Australian Government recognizes the value we bring and that we can work together to strengthen, rather than limit, our alliances with the media,” said Facebook.
The decision was not very well received and it was described by the Prime Minister of that country, Scott Morrison, as an arrogant action.
In this sense, Carolina Botero, digital analyst and director of the Karisma Foundation, indicated that Facebook’s position is “disproportionate and very aggressive”, directly impacting users, creating more barriers to access information.
Google gives a little
Although Google initially threatened to shut down the Australian search engine if the law passed, in recent days it reached an agreement with media conglomerate News Corp to pay for news content. This includes media in the UK, US and Australia.
(Also: Twitter is thinking of charging a subscription for some features)
Added to this is the launch in the oceanic country, at the beginning of February, of the News Showcase platform, which has an investment plan of one billion dollars, and Local and regional media are paid for the news that is published within it.
The truth is that there is still a lot left in this game. Australia is ready to continue to fight against these companies, setting an important precedent for other countries that welcome these regulations. What did you say Prime Minister Morrison, they are not going to be “intimidated.”
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Twitter: @ TecnósferaET