Facebook and Google Diverge in Response to Proposed Australian Law

San Francisco – For months, Facebook and Google have been Off in a stare With news publishers and MPs in Australia.

At the heart of the fight is whether tech giants should pay news organizations for news articles they share on their networks. Under a proposed legislation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, both Google and Facebook would be required to negotiate with media publishers and compensate them for content appearing on their sites.

Facebook and Google has given a tough competition Australian legislation to prevent – which this week or later – is expected to pass by forcing its hands. But on Wednesday, the two companies increasingly cited that regulatory future.

Google started the day Three-year global agreement unveiled With Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to pay for the publisher’s news content, One of many such deals It has recently announced that it effectively meets the demands of publishers. A few hours later, Facebook took the opposite step, saying it would prevent people and publishers from sharing or viewing news links in Australia, in a move that was immediately effective.

The chairman of Google’s global partnerships, Don Harrison, in brief on behalf of publishers, said the company had invested over the years to help news organizations and that it was hoped “To announce more partnerships soon.”

Facebook added a different tone. Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director William Easton said, “The proposed legislation fundamentally misstates the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.” said Of draft Australian law.

The divergence illustrates the different ways that Facebook and Google view news. For years, two Internet giants had treated news publishers more or less the same. Both had little incentive to pay news outlets for content and rightly argued that they had greatly helped readers run news that would otherwise go unnoticed on lightly illegal websites.

But the newspaper’s continued decline – with billions of dollars battling Google and Facebook raids in digital advertising – questioned the question of whether platforms had the responsibility to financially support publishers. In recent years, the two companies began to pay news organizations through various programs as criticism about misinformation on their platforms seemed to increase the need for journalism.

Now Australia’s position has underlined that the lockstep approach can only go so far as Facebook and Google ultimately value news differently. Google’s mission statement has long been to organize the world’s information, an ambition that is not achievable without up-to-the-minute news. For Facebook, the news is not as central. Instead, the company deploys photos, political views, internet memes, videos – and on occasion, as a network of users coming together to share news articles.

“Google is already used to play a different game in every different country,” said Shiva Vaidyanathan, a media studies professor at the University of Virginia. When he said that Facebook is doing what it considers an ethical stance, Google “may be beyond this fantasy of a universal approach to doing business in the world.”

Australia’s Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government would pursue the law as negotiations with Facebook continued.

In the interview, he praised Google for engaging with the process and suggested that Facebook “be closely scrutinized for deciding to remove all official and reliable news sources from the platform.” In an interview with 2GB Radio, Mr Fletcher said the decision “certainly raises issues about the reliability of information on the platform.”

The country’s top competition authority, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, last year drafted a bill for the Australian Parliament that would require Facebook and Google to negotiate with media publishers and pay them for content. The law includes a code of conduct that allows media companies to deal individually or collectively with digital platforms on the value of their news content.

Google and Facebook saw the proposed legislation as a worrying precedent. As negotiations on the proposal continued until 2020, the two companies openly stated that they may have to resort to more drastic measures against it.

In August, Facebook said it would Block users and news organizations in Australia If the bill was to go ahead then share local and international news on your social network and Instagram. Last month, Google also Threatened to make their search engine unavailable In Australia, if the government approved the law.

But in recent weeks, Google has sought to blunt the impact of the proposed legislation by making deals with media companies such as Reuters and The Financial Times. Last year, Google said it would commit to paying $ 1 billion in license fees over three years to news publishers for content featured within Google’s news page, as well as Discover, the news feed that Google’s mobile The search appears in the app.

Google’s agreement with Mr. Murdoch’s News Corp on Wednesday was particularly notable. The two showed open hostility to each other for years, dating back to the early days of search engines.

In 2009, Mr. Murdoch threatened to remove News Corp’s articles from Google, Accusing the Internet giant of stealing its content. Google has long suspected that Mr. Murdoch and News Corp have stopped growing antitrust scrutiny in Washington and between the state’s attorney general, according to current and former Google officials.

Under the agreement of the two companies, Google agreed to pay News Corp for the use of its news content without disclosing specific markets or dollar amounts.

But according to two people familiar with the deal, the search giant did not accept a major sticking point in past negotiations. The agreement explicitly excludes paying for links and snippets of news stories that appear in general search results, which is Google’s main source of power.

in A news release Announcing the win for its “quikotic search” to pay Google for news, News Corp also said the agreement included the development of a membership platform and investment in video journalism by YouTube, a Google subsidiary.

Facebook’s decision on Wednesday was in line with its previous statements about blocking news links in Australia. The move may prove to be very difficult for Australians, as publishers are no longer able to share or post any content from their Facebook pages and users are unable to view news articles shared on Facebook by foreign publishers .

Within Australia, Facebook’s news ban seemed to roll randomly. News pages worked and then did not work, error messages for some users and streams of missing posts for others.

But by 9 am in Sydney, the impact was clear and far more widespread than Facebook’s statements. In addition to blocking news publishers, all pages of the Bureau of Meteorology and State Police Departments were cleared for Fire and Rescue New South Wales. Even state government pages containing public health information about the epidemic were blocked, sparking outrage from many officials and MPs, including Senator Sarah Hanson-Young of South Australia.

In a statement, Mr. Easton of Facebook said that the social network had helped the media industry to a great extent and that publishers would not have been able to increase their revenue without the company’s help in this way.

“The price exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favor of publishers,” he said. “Last year Facebook gave Australian publishers around 5.1 billion free referrals worth an estimated AU $ 407 million.”

Australian Federal Treasurer and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party Josh Friedenberg, Said in a tweet He and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, had a “constructive discussion” on Wednesday.

He will “go ahead and try to find a route”, Mr. Friedenberg said.

Katie Robertson Contributed to reporting.

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