Friday, February 26, 2021

Battle with Facebook: Media law in Australia remains unchanged


Shortly before the final vote in parliament, MPs in Australia no longer made any changes to the media law, which has been severely criticized by US technology giants such as Facebook or Google.

“The law as it is … is appropriate,” said Australian Treasury Secretary Simon Birmingham on Monday on Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio. The politicians are expected to pass the law in a final vote on Tuesday.

The reform will force platforms like Facebook and Google to share the advertising revenue they generate with news content with media houses. In protest, Facebook had surprisingly blocked all media links last week and thus triggered criticism worldwide. In the meantime, Canada and Great Britain have announced that they will consider steps similar to Australia. According to the draft, the tech companies should first sit down with the media houses to agree on payments. If this does not succeed, an intermediary appointed by the government decides.

In contrast to Facebook, Google has already signed preliminary contracts with media companies in the past few days and weeks. Birmingham said, “There’s no reason Facebook can’t do what Google has already done.” Talks between the Australian government and Facebook over the weekend did not lead to any result.

On Sunday, the government in Canberra announced that it would no longer place ads on Facebook. The announcement came at the start of the Australian vaccination campaign against the coronavirus. Health Secretary Greg Hunt said the government would advertise the vaccinations online, just not on Facebook.



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