- A code of conduct is slated to be brought in by July which will compel tech giants Facebook and Google to pay for news content in Australia.
- This move comes amid a steep decline in advertising brought in because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Previously, such moves were unsuccessfully tried in France and Spain.
Facebook and Google will be compelled to share advertising revenue with Australian media companies, Australia announced on Monday.
A report by The Guardian stated treasurer Josh Frydenberg saying that it is only fair that the media companies which generate content get paid for it. "This will help to create a level playing field," he said.
This move comes in the backdrop COVID-19 because of which there has been a steep decline in the advertising revenue.
According The Guardian's report, in December, the federal government asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop a code between media companies and digital platforms, including Facebook and Google.
The code was reportedly required to negotiate in good faith on how to pay news media agencies for the use of their content, advise news media in advance of algorithm changes that would affect content rankings, favour source news content in search page results and share data with media companies.
Earlier the code was to be finalised in November 2020, but with limited negotiations between news companies and platforms, the result was not successful. Now, the ACCC has made it mandatory for the platforms to pay the news companies.
The final draft code is set to be finalised by the end of July. It will be similar to the code earlier set with more penalties.
Many newspapers in Australia have stopped printing as a result of which employees have either been faced with pay cuts or been asked to step down. According to a report by AFP, the number of newspaper and online journalists in Australia has fallen more than 20 percent since 2014 as digital advertising revenues was overwhelmingly captured by Google and Facebook.
Facebook, however, has cited its disappointment in the Australian government saying they want to retrieve millions of dollars from tech giants, another report by The Guardian stated.
Frydenberg has said that he won't bow down to threats of tech giants of not showing local news and said that it was a battle worth fighting.
Previously, a similar code of conduct was passed in Spain and France. According to reports, when it became mandatory in Spain and France to pay a part of the revenue or a portion for the news content, Google withdrew the news service in Spain. Whereas in France, Facebook and Google refused to pay for users clicking through news sites.
"These are big companies that we are dealing with but there is also so much at stake, so we're prepared for this fight," Frydenberg said.
An estimated 17 million Australians use Facebook each month and spend an average of 30 minutes on the platform a day, while 98 percent of Australian mobile searches use Google, AFP stated.