Google has threatened to pull their site from Australia if the country passes one specific law. Facebook is also threatening to alter users’ news feeds to not have any news if the code passes. Basically, the tech giants would be forced to negotiate with individual news companies in return for using their content. An independent arbiter would be assigned to “ultimately decide the payment amount if no agreement can be reached.” So, the brain trust at Google decided that they may end up pulling the service entirely instead of having to face the prospect of shelling out money. It’s a prickly situation because of the relative proximity to other discussions around how much power these corporations have over their users. But, as it stands, the company has not indicated that it intends to budge. For its part, Australia is fine with either outcome and is drawing a line in the sand.
What are Australia’s new laws? 👇— Reuters (@Reuters) January 22, 2021
Australia is introducing laws that would require tech giants like Google and Facebook to negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for news content pic.twitter.com/8BiLa1fbFQ
The Guardian reported on the case and received comment. “The principle of unrestricted linking between websites is fundamental to search and coupled with the unmanageable financial and operational risk if this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia. Withdrawing our services from Australia is the last thing that Google want to have happen, especially when there is another way forward,” Google’s managing director in Australia, Mel Silva said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wasn’t about to be lectured by Google. He responded to this statement by putting his foot down. Morrison wanted to make it clear that Australia wouldn’t be bullied by any of the large tech giants.
He explained, “Let me be clear. Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our parliament. It’s done by our government. And that’s how things work here in Australia and people who want to work with that, in Australia, you’re very welcome. But we don’t respond to threats.”
Do you think Google has a point? Or is Australia in the right? Let us know down in the comments!