Can Australia meet Google and Facebook in the middle, or will they be forced to live a life without each other? Both sides have been in a tug-of-war since the Australian Parliament proposed a law that would force the tech Goliaths to pay for their news sources. Imagine that — Google and Facebook giving something back to the little guy.
Time to pay up
Australia is trying to pass a law that would require Google and Facebook to pay news sources when they publish their content on their platforms. Seems fair, right? Shouldn’t the people who publish the news make the money? By having the big tech companies pay for the snippets of news they post, the smaller media companies can catch up in ad revenue sales. They’ve fallen way behind the big guys in this category. Together, Google and Facebook make up more than 80% of the money spent on advertising. They have made billions of dollars while traditional media companies have gone broke and been closed.
Why do they need to make a deal?
So why do they need to make a deal? Why can’t Australian Parliament just pass their laws? If they throw caution to the wind, there could be massive fallout. Upon hearing the news, Google and Facebook threw fits. Both companies vehemently opposed these policies, and Google even threatened to shut down its search engine if they passed the laws.
Is compromise possible?
The Australian government is willing to let the tech companies continue their free posting habits if the media companies providing the news snippets sign up for Google Showcase or Facebook News. This deal would be the first step in breaking up these massive tech companies’ stranglehold over the news industry. And it would be another win for David over Goliath.
***Update – Thurs., Feb. 18
Google struck a deal: They will make payments to news corporations for trusted and premium news content. Google has met the lawmakers in the middle, while Facebook has taken a more uncompromising approach.
Facebook has announced that it will not be permitting users to post news to its platform in Australia. Also, users in other parts of the world will not be able to access any Australian news sources. They could have taken the same deal as Google but ultimately decided against it.
What does this mean going forward? Google will be giving some revenue back to the media companies who have been struggling with ad revenue, while Facebook will be removing a platform for them to stand on. Will this cause more people to stop relying on Facebook for news and move to sites more trustworthy than social media?