Australia to make Facebook, Google share revenues with media outlets

New Delhi: Global digital Facebook and Google will have to start sharing advertising revenue with Australian media companies, the government said on Monday (April 20) in the wake of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic causing a collapse in advertising revenue. 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would release in late July draft rules for the platforms to pay fair compensation for the journalistic content siphoned from news media. “It’s fair that those who generate content get paid for it,” ABC News quoted him saying. 

Frydenberg said that while countries like France and Spain have failed in making Google and Facebook pay to media outlets, he believes Australia would succeed in doing so. 

Since most of the Indian news business is also hammered in the wake of the pandemic, the Narendra Modi-led central government should also ask the digital platforms to pay to media firms in the country for using news content. The authorities should negotiate with Google and Facebook to pay for using news content since they have turned out to major distributors of news and greatly benefit from it.

The mandatory code of conduct will cover issues including the sharing of data, ranking of news content online and the sharing of revenue generated from news. It will be enforced through penalties and sanctions and will include a binding dispute resolution process.

Expressing dismay at the governemnt’s move, a spokesperson for Facebook Australia and New Zealand told The Verge that the company was disappointed by the announcement. “COVID-19 has impacted every business and industry across the country, including publishers, which is why we announced a new, global investment to support news organizations at a time when advertising revenue is declining,” the Facebook spokesperson said.

Facebook has pledged to invest an additional USD 100 million to support journalists at a time when ad revenues are declining due to the economic impact of the new coronavirus.

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