Explained: What’s up between Google, Facebook and Australia? For the past two decades, world news outlets have been complaining about online corporations’ wealth, selling their affiliate marketing without sharing revenue.
Now, Australia joins France and other governments in pressuring Google, Facebook and other online officials to pay. That could transfer a lot of money to the media industry which reduces coverage as money decreases. But it also sets the stage for some of the biggest names in the technology industry.
Google, which was a unit of Alphabet Inc, has also announced about the payment agreements for the publishers in Australia and Facebook said on Thursday it blocked users in the country from viewing or sharing news.
Faced with a proposed law in order to force online companies so that they can pay for news organizations, Google has announced a partnership with News Corp. of Rupert Murdoch and Seven West Media. No financial information was released. Australian Broadcasting Corp is in talks.
Google accounts for 53% of Australia’s online advertising revenue and 23% for Facebook, according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
Google has threatened to make search engines unavailable in Australia in response to a law, which will create a panel that will make price decisions on the news.
On Thursday, Facebook has also responded by blocking the users from accessing and sharing the Australian news.
Facebook says the proposed law “ignores the facts” of its relationship with publishers who use its app to “share news content.” This is despite Frydenberg saying this week that Google and Facebook wants to get into such trading programs.
What is happening in other lands?
The proposed Australian law will be the first of its kind, but some governments are also pressuring Google, Facebook and other online companies to pay for news outlets and other publishers.
In Europe, Google was due to negotiate with French publishers after a court last year ruled that such agreements were required in the 2019 European Union patent law.
France is the first government to enforce laws, but the decision shows that Google, Facebook and other companies will meet similar needs in other parts of the 27-nation business.
Google and a group of French publishers have announced an agreement with the US company to negotiate licensing deals with each publisher. The company deals with areas including Le Monde newspaper and the weekly l’Obs magazine.
Last year, Facebook announced it would pay American news organizations including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today for headlines. No financial information was released.
In Spain, Google has also shut down its news website after a law back in the year 2014 which were required to pay to the publishers.
Why does this matter?
Developments in the Australia and Europe suggested for the financial balance between the multibillion-dollar online companies and the news organizations is more to change.
Australia responds to complaints from online companies that should share advertising and other money linked to news reports, magazine articles and other content from their websites or shared with users.
The government has taken action after its competition administrator tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a voluntary payment plan with Google. The proposed legislation will create a panel that will make binding decisions on the price of news reports to help give individual publishers more interviews with global online companies.
What does this mean for society?
The Google agreement refers to the distribution of revenue through media assets, but whether that translates into more readings for readers, viewers and listeners is unclear.
The Australian Journalists’ Union is urging media companies to ensure that online revenue goes into news consolidation.
“Any money from these deals should be kept in the newsroom, not in the boardroom,” said Marcus Strom, president of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. “We will press this case to make it clear how these funds are being spent.”
In the meantime, access sometimes may suffer: Facebook’s move on Thursday initially blocked some Australian social media pages.