Australia will force Google and Facebook to pay for news content

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CANBERRA, Australia – The Australian government announced on Friday that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate fair compensation for news content with Australian media companies.
The government has released a draft binding code of conduct that aims to succeed where other countries have failed to make global digital giants pay for information siphoned off from commercial media companies.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Facebook FB,
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Google would be the first digital platform covered by the proposed legislation, but more could follow.
“This is a fair approach for Australian news media companies, it is about ensuring increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable media landscape,” said Frydenberg.

“Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake with these changes,” he added.
If the US-based platforms could not agree with Australian media companies on pricing after three months, arbitrators would be appointed to make a binding decision, according to the draft.
The draft will be open for consultation until August 28, with legislation due to be presented to parliament shortly thereafter, Frydenberg said.
Besides payment, the code covers issues such as access to user data and the transparency of the algorithms used to categorize and present media content.
Violations of the code could result in penalties of up to 10% of the platform’s annual revenue or a fine of Australian $ 10 million ($ 7.2 million).
Frydenberg said the motive was not to protect Australian businesses from competition or disruption, but to ensure that they were paid fairly for original content.
The Conservative government is pushing forward with change after the pandemic created an ad revenue crisis for many Australian media companies.
Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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