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Why The World Is Watching Australia’s New Big-tech Rules

Australia is one step closer to pioneering legislation on Friday to force tech giants to pay for sharing news content. This is a move that can change the way people around the world experience the Internet.

Let’s take a look at what the proposed rules are, why companies like Facebook and Google hate them, and what that means for internet users.

After 20 years of light-touch regulation, companies such as Google and Facebook have been increasingly monitored by the government.

In Australia, regulators are focusing on the advantages of corporate online advertising and its impact on the struggling news media.

For every $ 100 spent on online advertising, Google wins $ 53, Facebook wins $ 28, and the rest is shared with others, according to Australian Competitive Watchdog.

To level the competition, Australia wants Google and Facebook to pay to use expensive news content in their searches and feeds.

After going back and forth many times, the Senate investigation ended its review on Friday, issued a report on the bill, and recommended that the measures become law with minor adjustments.

The rules apply only to Australia, but other regulators are scrutinizing whether the system works and can be applied in other countries as well.

Microsoft, which has the potential to gain market share in Bing search engines, backed the proposal and explicitly called for other countries to follow Australia’s initiative, and the tech sector “revived independent journalism at our heart. We need to step up to get it done. ” Democratic freedom. “

The US government is currently opposed to the proposal, warning US companies of “long-term adverse effects,” but that opinion came a few days before President Joe Biden took office.

European legislators favorably cite Australia’s proposal in drafting the EU-wide digital market bill.





Australia is one step closer to introducing a law that forces tech giants to pay for sharing news content. This is a move that can change the way people around the world experience the Internet.
AFP / DENIS CHARLET

In a broader sense, Facebook and Google oppose a number of potential regulations around the world that could undermine the business models that made it possible to become the largest and most profitable company in the world. I will.

Specifically, the two companies say they have no problem paying for news. In fact, both have already paid content to some news organizations.

Their main dissenting opinion is that they are told how much they have to pay.

Under Australian rules, an independent arbitrator can determine if the transaction reached is fair and prevent tech companies from using online advertising duopoly to determine terms.

Opponents also say the new rule is a gift from Australia’s conservative government to its allies in Australia’s largest media group, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., in support of his struggling newspaper. Insist.

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee warned that introducing a precedent for link billing could open Pandora’s Box, which would destroy the Internet.

“Links are the basis of the web,” he told the Senate investigation. “If this precedent is followed elsewhere, the Web could stop working around the world.”

Both Facebook and Google claimed that the proposal spelled out some of their most popular products.

“We have no choice but to stop making Google search available in Australia,” a service with a market share of over 90%, according to a parliamentary study, Google Australia’s managing director, Melsilva. Said.

Similarly, Facebook warns that Australian users may block sharing local news articles on their platforms.

Such a move in Australia has little impact on the profits of either company, but if the Australian approach is replicated in other countries, blocking these services more broadly is not an option. Let’s do it.



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