Google inks deals, while Facebook blocks content in Australia media dustup
A proposed new law is prompting starkly different responses from the tech giants.
Google and Facebook are taking strikingly different approaches to a proposed Australian legal measure that would require them to pay publishers for using their content.
On Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. signed a three-year agreement to be paid by Google for its news content. It follows an earlier deal with Seven West and an expected deal with Nine Entertainment, both Australian media behemoths. The deals are designed to help Google comply with a proposed Australian law that could potentially require it to pay for articles surfaced by its search engine.
On the same day,Australian publishers and users from sharing news stories on the social network.
“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” William Easton, who runs Facebook’s Australia and New Zealand operations, wrote in a blog post. “It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”
The starkly different approaches by the two tech giants come as theconsiders the News Media Bargaining Code, which would force the companies to pay news publishers for using their content. The debate over the proposal grew so contentious that Google threatened to pull its search product out of the country. Last week, a Senate committee recommended that the bill, which also covers Facebook, pass through Parliament and become law.
Facebook said the code doesn’t take into account the social network’s role in driving readers to publishers. In the blog post, Easton says news content is less than 4 percent of what people see in their News Feeds but last year “generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million ($315 million).”
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