Australia orders Facebook, Google to pay up
TECH giants will be forced to share data and pay media companies more for news as the Federal Government ramped up its crackdown on the profit-hungry behemoths.
The Government will today impose a mandatory code of conduct on Facebook and Google after losing patience as negotiations to create a less stringent code stalled over profit sharing.
The move follows an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry that lifted the veil on a lack of transparency at the Silicon Valley heavyweights and how they had distorted major sectors of Australian society including business, advertising, media and consumers.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the ACCC report paved the way for a mandatory code that would "help to create a level playing field" and require media companies to get paid.
"It's only fair that those that generate content get paid for it," he said.
The ACCC, which had been leading discussions between the tech giants and media companies over a voluntary code, recently reported it was unlikely fundamental issues would be resolved.
News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller said Google and Facebook had built trillion-dollar businesses using other people's content and refusing to pay for it.
"Their massive failure to recognise and remunerate creators and copyright owners has put at risk the original reporting that keeps communities informed," he said.
"The decisive move by the Australian Government to go directly to a mandatory code of conduct between the international tech giants and Australian news media companies is a vital step that can help secure the future of Australian journalism."
He said the Australian media industry was at a "tipping point" and tech giants must be forced to urgently pay a "fair and very significant price" for content.
"The platforms have had many years to act fairly and have chosen not to, and steps like the one now taken by the Australian Government are now finally necessary," he said.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the media had faced a "sharp downturn" in advertising revenue during the COVID-19 crisis and it was vital Australian maintained a "strong and sustainable news media ecosystem".
A draft of the mandatory code, which will include enforcement, penalty and a binding dispute resolution mechanism, is expected to be released for comment before the end of July followed soon after by the final code.
Originally published as Australia orders Facebook, Google to pay up