Australia pays legislation to make Facebook, Google News


The author of Australian laws proposed to pay Facebook and Google for journalism said their draft legislation would be changed on Thursday to the concerns of some digital giants, but remain fundamentally unchanged.

Australia’s fair trade regulator Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said he would give Facebook and Google a final draft of laws to pay Australian media companies news content used by early October.

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Facebook has warned that it may block Australian news content instead of paying for it.

Google has said the proposed laws could result in “dramatically skewed Google search and YouTube”, putting free services at risk and allowing users’ data to be “assigned to large news businesses.”

Sims said he is discussing the draft of his bill with the American social media platform. It can be tabled in Parliament in late October.

“Google has concerns about it, some of them being that they don’t like it, other things that we’re going to happily connect with them,” Sims told a webinar hosted by The Australia Institute. -tank.

“We will make changes to address some of those issues – not all, but some,” Sims said.

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Sims said there is a fear among concerns that under the so-called Media Bargaining Code, news businesses will “be able to control their algorithms in some way”.

“We will engage with them and clarify that there is no way that news media businesses can interfere with Google or Facebook’s algorithms,” Sims said.

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He said he would also clarify that platforms would not have to disclose more data about users because they already share.

“There’s nothing in the code that forces Google or Facebook to share data from individuals,” Sims said.

Sims was unwilling to negotiate the “core” of the code, which he described as the “bits of glu” that put the code together, making it workable. ”

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These included an intermediary to correct the bargaining imbalance between tech giants and news businesses. If a platform and news outlet cannot reach an agreement on price, an arbitrator will be appointed to make a binding decision.

Another key aspect was a non-discrimination clause preventing platforms from prioritizing Australia’s state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp and the Special Broadcasting Service, whose news content would remain free.

Sims said he did not know whether Facebook would act on its threat and block Australian news, but he suspected that doing so would “weaken” the platform.

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Spain and France and both have failed to pay Facebook and Google for news through copyright law. Sims said he has talked about Australia’s approach through fair trade laws to regulators in the United States and Europe.

“They’re all wrestling with the same problem,” Sims said