Google To Disable Search Option In Australia If Media Code Comes Into Force

Google To Disable Search Option In Australia If Media Code Comes Into Force

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30 August 2022

Google said on Friday it would turn off its search function in Australia if the government created a media code that could force it and Facebook Inc to pay locally media companies for sharing their content.

Australia is on the right track to pass laws that might make the massive Tech giants negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for content. If they can’t strike a deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide the value.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia wouldn’t answer the threats as journalism companies fired back at suggestions their content failed to add value to the platforms.

Australia sets our rules for the items you can make in Australia. It destroyed our Parliament. Our government does it, and that’s how it works here in Australia, he said. People who want to be in Australia are welcome. But we do not respond to threats.

These codes aim to force digital media platforms to pay media companies for news content and follows and a 12-month review of Google and Facebook by the competition watchdog. The legislation, which was introduced into the House of Representatives in December, comes amid a push by global governments to rein within the power of digital monopolies.

The threats from Google follow similar comments made by Facebook Australia head Will Easton in September, who announced plans to ditch news articles from the main social media app if Parliament adopted the media code

Montaka Global fund manager Andrew Macken, whose company owns shares in both Google and Facebook, said he believed they weren’t empty threats.

Mr Macken said that Google will be perhaps rather lose Australia (a relatively small global market) to avoided setting of a precedent for its other larger markets.”

Google’s comments marked the primary time the digital giant publicly threatened to disable its primary search function to any or all Australians in its response to the proposed laws.

Hannah Marshall is a partner at Marque Lawyers specializing in antitrust law and she’s said the code in its current form left the tech giants no choice.

The code now says that Google and Facebook must be required to buy the right to produce audience for news publishers,” Marshall said. “It doesn’t make any business or legal sense.

Search engine giant Google has threatened to pull its services out of Australia if the media bargaining code becomes law and to prevent the code from working, Google and Facebook have no choice but to completely stop connecting to the news.

If Google can’t reliably separate news results from other search results, it should logically remove its entire Australian search service and Concerns about Google’s exit from the market were also shared by Labor spokeswoman Michelle Rowland.

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