New legislation: Is Google being banned in Australia?
Is Google being banned in Australia? Well, if so it’s a self-ban.
Australia is currently working to pass new legislation that would force tech companies like Google and Facebook to provide a cut of revenue to news sites they link to. Due to the fact that sites such as these use media links and often snippets of articles Australia believes that news sites should be compensated for this monetarily.
Google is more than a little displeased by this prospect, since it would cut down on their profits. In fact, Google is so upset by the proposed legislation they’ve threatened to pull Google out of Australia altogether.
According to Australia, this proposal has been made due to the fact that big companies like Facebook & Google (Facebook has also expressed discontent toward the proposal) are how most people obtain news.
Since most people go to these sites in order to view articles and updates about the world Australia argues that the big tech companies are benefiting from the sites that actually write the articles. Therefore, these companies should split some of the revenue they earn from having the articles on their site with the companies that wrote & published them.
Many believe that since Google & Facebook are two of the biggest online advertising companies that puts news sites “in a bind” that “leaves them scrambling for leftovers” according to CNN.
Google feels that they’re providing a free service to news sites by hosting links to the articles for people to see. Since they view what they’re doing as a service they don’t feel they should be paying the people they’re helping.
With this perspective in mind Google has threatened to withdraw its services from Australia saying, “That would be a bad outcome not just for us, but for the Australian people, media diversity and small businesses who use Google Search.”
Recently Google performed some “tests” with its algorithm that excluded multiple Australian outlets from search results. Google claimed this was to “measure the impacts of news businesses and Google search on each other”, though to many it looked like a power move to show how much they could affect the Australian news sites by not providing their service.
Google has also said that all options are on the table in regard to responding to the potential new legislation.
On the other hand, Google very recently made a deal with France quite similar to Australia’s proposal. This deal means that Google will be paying media companies “for recycling their content”. This comes after months of lobbying against this very agreement. Knowing this takes a lot of bite out of Google’s bark when it comes to Australia.
So what could happen?
Theoretically Google could pull out of Australia if they decide to pass the legislation. Though it’s hard to believe this sharing of profits would actually hurt Google long term – especially since they’ve acquiesced to France’s similar arrangement.
Australia seems fairly adamant at the moment, so the idea of them backing down feels unlikely, but stranger things have certainly happened. If they fear losing Google & Facebook, they might throw the legislation out. (Then again, would they really be at a loss or would they have been freed?)
In the end, we’ll have to wait and see what happens next. It could certainly be interesting. If Australia manages to get Google to accept the legislation like France did, laws like this could potentially start to become more mainstream around the world as people see the merit and the success of these other two countries.
What do you think will happen with this situation? Let us know in the comments down below!