Google and Facebook forced to pay for Australian news

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Published on July 31, 2020 by

Tech giants will be forced to pay Australian media companies for their content or else they will be ushered into binding arbitration if parties cannot agree within a three-month window.

The world-first mandatory code was unveiled by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg today as he complained tech giants Google and Facebook had not made adequate progress towards paying companies for original journalism.

Google alone has ripped hundreds and millions of dollars from Australian media companies in recent year and earned $4.3 billion in Australian advertising revenue in 2019.

“The influence of these digital platforms namely Google and Facebook has grown and our regulatory framework has not kept up and as result there is a very unequal bargaining position between Australian news media businesses that produce original content and the digital platforms,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“We as a government tasked the ACCC to undertake a detailed world leading study which they did over a period of 18-months and their recommendation was for a code to govern those relationships between those digital platforms and the Australian news businesses.

“It became apparent to us a number of months ago that we were not making progress on that critical issue of paying for content hence we are moving down the path of a mandatory code.”

Mr Frydenberg said that the tech giants would also be forced to release user data and provide transparency about algorithms used to rank news stories.

“A mandatory code that governs those relationships and covers issues such as access to user data, the transparency of algorithms used by digital platforms for ranking and the presentation of media content as well of course payment for content,” he said.

“What we have sought to do is create a level playing field to ensure a fair go for Australian news businesses and when they generate original content, they are fairly paid for it.”

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