Google and Facebook’s Decisions in Australia

Australia’s Media Bill Expected to Pass

For the past several months Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) have been clashing with the Australian government. Australia’s parliament is expected to pass a law requiring search engines and social media companies to pay Australian news outlets for displaying their content.

Supporters of the law note that Google and Facebook rake in advertising money because of the links to media they provide. Together these companies have a market value of about $1.7 trillion.

Meanwhile, many news outlets are facing financial difficulties. The Australian government wants to ensure that journalism and media can thrive in the country, and it wants to spread revenue more evenly between the tech industry and media outlets.

Facebook Pulls Out of Australia While Google Makes Deals

Google and Facebook have had very different responses to the bill. Google recently entered a multiyear agreement with News Corp, the largest newspaper owner in Australia, through which Google will pay for content. The search engine has also reached similar deals with a number of smaller Australian publishers.

Just hours after Google disclosed its arrangement with News Corp, Facebook announced a very different decision. The social media giant will no longer allow Facebook users and media companies to share or view news on the site. Additionally, viewers around the world will not be able to access links to content from Australian publishers on Facebook.

Larger Implications

Governments around the world are watching closely as events in Australia unfold. Lawmakers in the European Union are in the process of making big changes to regulations for tech companies in the bloc—a number of which relate to how news content is handled.

Many believe that the changes taking place in Australia will give journalism and media a much-needed boost. Others believe that forcing companies to pay for linking content on the internet is a slippery slope, and worry that if too many regulations like this are put in place, it could change the way people use the internet in negative ways.

Leaders in the tech and media industries, as well as everyday internet users, will be eager to see how events in Australia impact the decisions around the world.

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