The country’s proposed News Media Bargaining Code Act, which is currently in draft form, stems from a 2019 request that found that tech giants such as Facebook and Google take too large a share of online advertising revenue from media organizations in Australia. The Treasury in Australia ordered the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to develop a voluntary code of conduct that would force the platforms to pay media companies. The ACCC told the government that it seemed “unlikely” that a voluntary agreement could be reached.
Under the proposed legislation, Google and Facebook must give publishers advance notice of changes to their algorithms, with penalties for non-compliance.
The actual draft code for this new regulation is here; This is a bit impenetrable, as Australian law is generally enacted by instructions that are difficult to follow to insert and extract different lines of text in existing regulations. The explanatory materials that come with the code are more useful, but for this daily update, I will focus on this question and answer document from the ACCC.[…]
What separates Google and Facebook from, say, Twitter or email, when it comes to directing traffic to news media sites? The answer I suspect is not volume: it is the fact that Google and Facebook make a lot of money that the Australian news media business feels entitled to[…] […]
Do you see the absolute absurdity here? This language suggests that Google and Facebook are using their gatekeeping power to throw news media companies to send traffic their way, when in fact they are sending traffic for free. As I noted in May, if anyone were to get paid in this relationship, it̵7;s Google and Facebook (although I, to be clear, do not say that Google and Facebook should actual get paid).
Facebook (Hacker News, Slashdot):
Provided that this draft code is allowed, we will reluctantly stop letting publishers and people in Australia share local and international news on Facebook and Instagram.[…]
The ACCC assumes that Facebook has the greatest advantage in its relationship with publishers, when in fact it is the opposite. News represents a fraction of what people see in their news feed, and is not a significant source of income for us. However, we recognize that news plays an important role in society and democracy, and therefore we offer free tools and training to help media companies reach an audience many times larger than they have previously done.
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