A senior Google executive told the Australian government on Friday that if it was forced to press for news coverage, it would stop searching the country.
Google Australia MD Mel Silva made the threat during a Senate committee hearing. “If this version of the proposed law becomes law, combined with temporary financial and operational risks, we will have no real alternative but to stop making Google search accessible in Australia,” he said. The end of the search may be the reason for the decline of YouTube in the country.
Australia plans to pass legislation that would allow technology giants, including Google and Facebook, to pay local publishers and broadcasters for search results or content included in their news feeds.
The draft “Essential Code of Conduct for Conducting Digital Platforms and Media Business” was drafted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and was first published in late July.
Under the current draft law, technology companies must consult with publishers to set prices for news. However, if they do not agree, the government will appoint an arbitrator. U.S. technology giants and the U.S. government want to eliminate the need for mandatory arbitration.
Silver’s comments drew a swift response from Australian Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “(Australia makes rules for what Australia can do for you). This has been done in our parliament, ”he told reporters. “People who want to work on it in Australia are very welcome. But we do not respond to threats. “
The exchange is the only recent conflict between the US technology giant and Australia during the war. The government has argued that companies do not pay adequate fees in the country and that the Australian media industry has emerged over the past decade as a result of the growing power of online companies.
The Morrison government has further said that technology companies have become too powerful. A review led to the proposed change found that for every $ 100 spent on online advertising, Google earns $ 53, but অর্জন 28 per Facebook account.
The fight included Facebook in Australia and announced that it would stop Australian news publishers and individuals from sharing local and international news via Facebook and Instagram. Earlier in January, Google stopped searching for some Australian news sites. Google called it a test, but others saw it as a warning shot.
In December, technology giants appeared to give up some of the services it had to offer – excluding Instagram and YouTube – but the official position could tighten again.
The controversy over news payments can be seen from a completely different reading of which party benefits from the publication of news stories on the platforms.
“(The law) will force news organizations to pay for content published voluntarily on our platforms on Facebook and at a price that ignores the financial value that our publishers pay. The ACC estimates that Facebook benefits the most from its relationship with publishers, when in reality the opposite is true. People represent a part of what they see on their news feeds and are not a significant source of revenue for us, ”said Will Easton, MD of Facebook in Australia and New Zealand in August 2020.
“News agencies encourage those readers to share news through social platforms to increase the readership of their stories. This allows them to sell more subscriptions and ads. In the first five months of 2020, we sent 2.3 billion free clicks from Facebook’s news feed to Australian news websites – an estimated 200 200 million in additional traffic to Australian publishers. “
“There is a clear path to a fair and effective code, with only minor modifications,” Silva said. The U.S. government this week weighed in favor of American firms, calling Australia’s compulsory arbitration process “fundamentally unbalanced.”