- The Internet giant said it may stop its search function for the Australian market
- Australia aims to charge Google and Facebook for publishing content of local news companies
The global search giant Google threatens to stop its search functions to Australian users if the country passes the media bargaining code law.
The proposed media code requires Google and other tech giants to pay Australia’s local publishers and broadcasters for the right to link to their content.
As Sydney Morning Herald reported, the experts claim Google might be frightened of Australia to set an international precedent.
Melanie Silva, the Google Australia managing director, told a Senate committee hearing on Friday that disabling the search function is the worst-case scenario and the last thing the company wants to happen.
According to her, the company though may not have another choice than to degrade Google search and Youtube experience for more than 19 million Australian users. She also added that
the world’s first media law is “unworkable” and will undermine the functioning of the Internet.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the governments will not respond to threats.
The reasons of confrontation
The battle between global corporations and the Australian government sparked last year when the legislation was drafted to force Google and Facebook to pay local media companies for publishing their content.
The media code aims to force Google and Facebook to compensate Australian media companies like News Corp, ABC, or SBS for publishing their content in search results, otherwise, internet giants might face a million fines.
The legislation would also require both platforms to notify news companies two weeks prior to any changes in search algorithms that affect the distribution of content. The law would also impose fines on platforms if they tried to block content to avoid payment.
On the flipside
- Google dominates internet searches in Australia.
- Google gets $4 billion in revenue from Australian users.
Australian media companies claim the code would help ensure the long-term sustainability of local journalism. According to Chris Janz, the chief digital and publishing officer at Nine, the internet giants refuse to pay for the content to secure their monopolies.
Local media companies worldwide are finding it difficult to engage in an increasingly digitizing environment, where large parts of the advertising income go to the major tech companies and digital platforms.