Tracker Series

Big Tech Compliance Tracker: Australia Wants Facebook And Google To Pay News Publishers

Facebook, Alphabet/Google, Apple and Amazon are under the microscope these days as politicians and regulators the world over accuse them of anticompetitive behaviors. In our new Big Tech Compliance Tracker, we’ll look at the latest compliance news regarding the four Big Tech behemoths.

Here are the latest major developments:


Australia Says Facebook And Google Must Pay News Publishers 

An Australian regulatory watchdog is aiming to make Google and Facebook compensate publishers for news content.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released the details of a regulation meant to tackle the “acute bargaining power imbalances” among Facebook, Google and news companies in the country.

The ACCC is proposing a “final-offer arbitration process.” Online platforms and news companies will have three months for a process of “negotiation and mediation” with Facebook and Google. If the two sides can’t reach a deal during that time, an independent arbitrator will select the most reasonable offer between the two parties within 45 business days.

In April, the Australian government indicated that it had asked the watchdog to create a required code of conduct after the issue of payment for content was “highly unlikely to be resolved” through a voluntary process.

U.K. OKs Amazon’s Deliveroo Investment 

Amazon has received the green light to purchase a minority share in Deliveroo, the British food delivery platform. The eCommerce retailer had run an Amazon Restaurants digital food business in the past.

The Competition and Markets Authority on Aug. 4 affirmed that the retailer’s minority investment — buying involving a 16-percent share in the company — can proceed. Two earlier provisional rulings had indicated that the arrangement would receive the green light.


Indonesia: Content Companies Must Pay VAT Tax 

Disney, TikTok and Facebook will be required to put a 10 percent value-added tax (VAT) on sales to clients in Indonesia, as the country added more companies to the roster of those mandated to apply the tax.

The firms include The Walt Disney Co. (Southeast Asia) Pte Ltd, Apple Distribution International Ltd., three Facebook entities, additional Amazon subsidiaries and TikTok Pte Ltd.

The Southeast Asian nation unveiled a 10 percent VAT in July on tech-company sales, including those of Netflix, Google, Spotify and Amazon.

Amazon To Pass U.K. Small-Business Sales Tax On To Merchants 

Amazon is reportedly passing on a new 2 percent U.K. online sales tax to merchants.

Authorities rolled out the digital-sales tax in the spring. But Doug Gurr, Amazon’s U.K. country manager, had warned at the time that the firm would pass the tax burden on to small-business merchants.


Facebook Blocks A Trump Post 

Facebook has removed content from President Donald Trump that included allegedly untrue statements regarding the vulnerability of children to the coronavirus. The social-media platform took down the post of a Fox segment in which Trump indicated that kids are “almost immune” to the coronavirus.

The move reportedly marks the first time that the firm applied regulations to Trump that prohibit harmful speech.

Google Removes YouTube Channels Allegedly Tied To China 

Google indicated per reports that it has taken down more than 2,500 YouTube channels connected to China. The tech company didn’t name the channels, but said it took them down between April and June “as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to China.”

Facebook Bans Some Of Brazilian President’s Supporters

Facebook placed a global ban on some accounts of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters who’ve been named in a fake-news probe, as per published reports

The move comes a day after Facebook received a penalty for not following a Brazilian Supreme Court judge’s order to take such actions.

Chinese Company Sues Apple For $1.4B Over Voice-Recognition Patents 

Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology Co. Ltd claims in a lawsuit that Apple has encroached on its patents involving voice recognition. The firm, which is also called Xiao-i, seeks $1.4 billion and calls for Apple to stop “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing” offerings it claims infringe on the Chinese company’s patent.

Two U.S. Senators Demand Facial-Recognition Safeguards 

U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) are calling for more federal rules covering facial recognition. Their proposed National Biometric Information Privacy Act would compel businesses to receive written permission from individuals to harvest biometric information, among other restrictions.



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