Google criticizes Australian law forcing tech giants to pay for news

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SYDNEY – US tech giant Google launched the offensive on Monday against an Australian plan forcing digital giants to pay for news content, telling users their personal data would be “at risk.” Australia announced last month that companies like Google and Facebook should pay news media for content, after 18 months of negotiations that ended without a deal.

The flagship measures would include multi-million dollar fines for non-compliance and force transparency around the closely watched algorithms companies use to rank content.

Google is now taking rearguard action to prevent the measures from going into effect.

On Monday, he told users in a new homepage pop-up that “the way Australians use Google is at risk” and their search experience “will be affected” by the changes.

Tech titan linked with open letter claiming he would be forced to hand over users’ research data to news media companies and give them information that would “help them artificially inflate their rankings” above other websites.

Google says it already partners with Australian news media, paying them millions of dollars and sending billions of clicks every year.

“But rather than encouraging these types of partnerships, the law is being put in place to give special treatment to large media companies and to encourage them to make huge and unreasonable requests that would endanger our free services,” the company said. letter.

The legislation will initially focus on Facebook and Google – two of the richest and most powerful companies in the world – but could potentially apply to any digital platform.

Australia’s proposals are being followed closely around the world, with regulators increasingly focusing on this fast-paced sector.

News media around the world have suffered from the digital economy, where large tech companies are massively capturing advertising revenue.

The crisis has been exacerbated by the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with dozens of Australian newspapers closed and hundreds of journalists sacked in recent months.

Unlike failed efforts so far by other countries to force platforms to pay for information, the Australian initiative relies on competition law rather than copyright regulation.

It enjoys strong local media support and is expected to be introduced this year.

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