Australia’s parliament passed a law that requires technology companies, like Google and Facebook, to pay for the news they use on their platforms. The legislation, called the “News Media Bargaining Code,” has already started to take effect. In light of the new rules, Google agreed to pay for content from News Corp and Seven West Media.
According to the country’s treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, who also participated in the negotiations, the objective of the law is to ensure that companies in this sector are “remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public interest journalism in Australia”.
Facebook blocks news in Australia
Although the technology giants accepted the agreements, the incorporation of the rules started stumbling. As soon as the News Trading Code was proposed by Parliament, Facebook blocked the publication and sharing of news links in Australia. In the process, the company accidentally extended the blockade to government agencies and NGOs – which was corrected hours later.
After a few days, Facebook decided to negotiate with the Australian government. He later communicated that officials “agreed to a series of changes and guarantees that they consider [their] main concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value that [their] platform offers publishers in relation to the value they receive from them”.
Application of the new rules
One of these guarantees, by the way, requires that the government inform at least a month in advance when the new rules will start to apply. With this, technology companies will have time to adapt and negotiate with the news outlets. In exchange for this benefit, Facebook agreed to change its policy and finally lift the block.
It is important to note that such a situation can generate conflicts between technology companies and news outlets. If this occurs, the law provides for the appointment of an arbitrator by the government to determine a fair value to be paid for the service provided.