Why have newspaper sales gone down? Probably because it’s quicker (and cheaper) to read your news on Facebook, Google, or any other social media platform actually. The Australian government is working on a code of conduct that will force social platforms to pay for the news they source in a bid to help out publishers.
Global lockdowns have had a significant effect on businesses of all types and sizes. This includes the publishing industry, which has seen a significant drop in advertising revenue. That’s… their main income. This prompted the Australian government to make these payments to publications mandatory. It looks like Google’s not happy with the terms and have now started threatening the whole country.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Google will just withdraw its search engine from the country if it needs to pay for all the free news it uses. “If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia,” said Mel Silva, Google’s managing director of Australia at a hearing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “People who want to work with that, in Australia, you’re very welcome. But we don’t respond to threats.”
It looks like Google may be trying to side-step a responsibility it’s scared of implementing globally. If it caves, and starts paying for news production in Australia, other countries will catch on and demand payment for news. Google, however, is convinced it’s not their place to pay for news, holding that “It’s not compatible with how search engines work or how the internet works.”
The code of conduct isn’t only applicable to Google too. Facebook will fall under the same umbrella, and may need to start paying for the news it shares. According to Engadget, the blue tech company has also been opposed to mandatory payments from the beginning, but it hasn’t threatened to leave the country… yet.
Maybe Australians need to get used to using Bing and Edge — here’s our guide on installing Edge?