Australian Law Requires Facebook and Google to Pay for News


Courtesy of the New York Post

Australia’s new law requires Google and Facebook to purchase news content.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

In Australia, a law has recently been passed that requires Google and Facebook to purchase news content. The goal of this law is to attempt to limit the market power that both Google and Facebook possess. By doing this, Australian lawmakers hope to aid smaller publication companies that may have struggled to profit due to the negotiation power that Facebook and Google held.

When this law was first proposed, Facebook and Google were quick to show that they opposed the implementation of this new law. Facebook showed its dislike for the law by preventing Australians from sharing and accessing news on its platform. Google responded as well by threatening to prevent Australians from using its search engine. Fortunately for Australian citizens, Google, and Facebook, this has now changed due to the fact that the Australian government has negotiated with Google and Facebook to allow for more leeway in the final reversion of the law.

Now that Google and Facebook are required to purchase news content from outside companies, they have already begun making deals with large Australian publishing companies such as Seven West Media and News Corp. This law, however, can be counterproductive in benefiting large companies more than the small companies it was intended to help. Since Facebook and Google can no longer abuse their purchasing power in Australia, they will likely continue to purchase news content from large companies, leaving smaller publication companies largely unaffected. This law was created in part to help out the smaller companies, but by making more changes to the law to help out smaller companies, Australia risks losing the cooperation of Facebook and Google.

According to Karyss Park (10) “it seems like Australia is taking a huge risk by implementing this law, but if it is successful, it will be able to help many small publication companies.” At the moment, it is not certain whether or not the new law will be successful. No matter whether it fails or succeeds, it will be interesting for the world to watch and see if a country can succeed at limiting large companies from abusing their purchasing power when it comes to the media. If this law is to fail, companies like Google and Facebook will continue to dominate online news publication; but if this new law succeeds, smaller publication companies will be able to have a better opportunity to compete for more profits in online news.