Skip to content

US Govt speaks up on Australia's proposal to force Google and Facebook to pay up

Australia's developing media laws continue to get spicy, with US officials the latest detractors alongside Facebook and Google.

Chris Button
Chris Button
2 min read
US Govt speaks up on Australia's proposal to force Google and Facebook to pay up

Australia's developing media laws continue to get spicy, with US officials the latest detractors.

Under proposed legislation introduced in December last year, currently before the Australian Senate, it would become mandatory for global giants Google and Facebook to pay to access local news stories — a move the US Government doesn't like.

US Assistant Trade Representatives Daniel Bahar and Karl Ehlers mention in a submission to the Australian Senate that such legislation would be detrimental to both Australia and the US — the latter of which is where Google and Facebook are based.

Bahar and Ehlers concede the latest legislation revisions partially addresses their concerns including "a more balanced evaluation of the value news businesses and platforms offer each other", they believe "significant issues remain".

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is adamant the Government will see the legislation through despite the US submission.

If the laws were to pass, it would be a world-first scenario, something the international tech companies likely wouldn't want established as a precedent.

Why does the Australian Government want to implement such laws? The intention is to attempt to bridge the revenue gap between Google and Facebook, and media organisations.

As mentioned by the ABC, an inquiry from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found that for every $100 spent on online advertising, only $19 goes towards media companies with Google and Facebook eating up the rest.

In an explainer, also from the ABC, it's suggested that social media companies will need to reach a deal with media organisations for how much they'll pay to access their news content — otherwise they'll have a decision made for them.

Predictably, the tech companies are less than thrilled about the prospect of having to pay for something they've so far accessed for free. Potential repercussions if the laws pass may include not being able to post news from Australian websites on Facebook.

Additionally, Google admitted to "running a few experiments" that affected search results for Australian news stories, something that is slated to end next month.

Will Easton, Facebook Australia's Managing Director, believes the social media company adds hundreds of millions of dollars' value to local news outlets already through clicks and referral traffic.

Even Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the world wide web, doesn't like the proposed laws.

Long story short, there are a lot of competing interests at play here, and everyone wants their slice of the money pie.

This fight ain't over yet.

PoliticsBusinessMediaTechnologyFacebook

Chris Button

Chris is an award-nominated writer based in Adelaide who specialises in covering video games and technology. He loves Donkey Kong Country, sport, and cats. The Last Jedi is the best one, no questions


Related Posts

Jabra gear converges on a hybrid work audio sweet spot

Not every business accessory maker is getting this hybrid work era right, but it's great to see Jabra is adapting its line up very nicely to the new era.

Jabra Speak2 75 Bluetooth speakerphone sitting on a table next to a laptop

Sennheiser Accentum Plus headphones pack big sound and big energy

The new Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus wireless headphones have just landed, with an aim to offer the great sound you expect from the classic audio brand along with great battery life. A combo of 50 hours of battery on a full charge plus 5 hours of playtime from just 10 minutes

Belkin has a great new hybrid charger that needs an easier name

Belkin's new dual USB wall charger has a nifty hidden power bank to keep your devices running before you get to the hotel.

Belkin has a great new hybrid charger that needs an easier name