Google lobbies Australian users against plans to make it pay for new. Google has published an open letter about a newly proposed government regulation that would compel it to Pay media outlets for news content.
Australians visiting their local Google homepage are presented with an ominous pop-up which warns that “the way Aussies use Google is at risk” and “their search experience will be hurt by the new regulation.” It’s a bold lobbying move that puts Google’s arguments against the change in front of millions of Australians.
Additionally, Australia’s consumer watchdog, responds towards the letter saying that it, “contains misinformation,” adding that “a healthy news media sector is essential to a well-functioning democracy.”
Google Lobbies Australian Users Against Plans To Make It Pay For News
The new proposed government regulation on Google lobbying Australian users is not just an argument even Facebook is also the target of the Australian government. Australia’s proposed News Media Bargaining Code law, which is currently in draft and targets Facebook alongside Google.
Following a 2019 inquiry in Australia that found the tech giant to be taking a disproportionately large share of online advertising revenue, even though much of their content came from media organizations. This resulted in the news and media industry is badly affected by the pandemic.
According to The Guardian reports, that about a hundred local newspapers in Australia have had to lay off journalists and either shut down or stop printing as advertising revenue has fallen.
New Google Regulations on Australian Google
As reported by Google Australia’s Managing Director Mel Silva “We need to let you know about new Government regulation,” reads linked from the pop-up from. Silva argues that the proposed regulation will lead to a “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia.”
Also, Google argued about a claim that the law would give an “unfair advantage” to news publishers by giving them the information they could use to boost their rankings compared to the competition. The proposed law would mean tech companies have to advise media organizations about algorithm changes affecting their rankings.
But only larger media companies are guaranteed to get this information. The Guardian report, that eligible media companies must meet various requirements including having revenues exceeding $150,000 a year, and must have a certain focus on the Australian market. Google also says that the law could put user data at risk.
The letter was met with rejection from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the competition watchdog behind the proposed law. The proposed rules “will address a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and Google and Facebook” it said.
“Google will not be required to share any additional user data with Australian news businesses unless it chooses to do so,” the ACCC said. It added that the code would not require Google to charge for its services like Google Search and YouTube.
Google Replies to Australian Government
Google’s letter says that the company has previously offered to pay for news content as part of an initiative announced back in June. Under the plans, Google partnered with publishers in Germany, Australia, and Brazil to pay for news content for a “new news experience” due to launch later this year.
However, The Financial Times report that plans have since been paused in Australia as a result of the proposed law. The initiatives in Brazil and Germany are reportedly not affected. Google did not respond to The Verge’s question about the status of the initiative.
“We’re going to do everything we possibly can to get this proposal changed,” Google’s letter concludes. The company hasn’t been afraid to rally support from its millions of users in the past. In 2018, it showed notice on YouTube about the EU’s copyright proposal.
However, over the years, Google has also withdrawn services entirely in certain countries due to new regulations. Back in 2014, they shut down its Google News in Spain when it was asked to pay for the news snippets it displayed.
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