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Facebook “Disappointed” In Australia’s Pay For News Edict

 |  April 20, 2020

Facebook has stated it is “disappointed” in the Australian government’s attempt to extract millions of dollars from tech giants to pay for media content shared through search and social media.

But on Monday, April 20, the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, vowed the Australian government “won’t bow to … threats” from big tech companies not to show local content, describing the coming fight with Google and Facebook as a “battle worth fighting”, reported the Guardian. 

The Australian government has opted for a mandatory code of conduct to distribute revenue to media companies because the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had concluded “no meaningful progress” had been made on payment for content in negotiations for a voluntary code.

The ACCC chair, Rod Sims, told ABC TV that, when the government asked for a view about a week ago, the competition regulator advised progress on value-sharing or paying for content “seemed unlikely.”

He cited “the experience overseas,” particularly Spain and France, which “passed various laws to get Google and Facebook to pay for content and [they] have basically said ‘the amount we’re willing to pay is zero’.”

Frydenberg and Sims, explained the compulsory code, to be finalised by July, could see Facebook and Google pay for content either as a proportion of the revenue user attention earns for the tech companies, or a proportion of the cost of the content, such as news.

Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director, Will Easton, said the social media giant was “disappointed by the government’s announcement, especially as we’ve worked hard to meet their agreed deadline” for a voluntary code by November 2020.

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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