Australia’s new law to make Facebook, Google pay for news

Teddy Cambosa - December 9, 2020

Canberra, Australia – The Australian government has now announced that legislation is ongoing that mandates tech giants Facebook and Google to compensate local media companies for the content they produce online.

In a report by the Associated Press, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated that the so-called News Media Bargaining Code will pass through a parliamentary hearing before official voting by next year.

“This is a huge reform. This is a world first. And the world is watching what happens here in Australia. This is comprehensive legislation that has gone further than any comparable jurisdiction in the world,” Frydenberg stated.

The News Media Bargaining Code, according to an official press release by the Office of the Treasurer, aims to support and sustain public interest journalism in the country, with strategies including “enabling digital platforms to publish standard offers, which provides smaller news media businesses with an efficient pathway to finalizing agreements with digital platform.”

Under the new reform, Facebook and Google will need to compensate local media companies, including state-owned media groups Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)-which were originally excluded from the initial law proposal.

Both Facebook and Google have released their statements in the past, opposing the new referendum. Facebook had stated that they will start blocking Australian users and publishers in publishing local and international news on their platform and on Instagram, while Google had clarified that they are not ‘stealing’ content from other people, but rather redirecting users to what they searched.