Australia to Force Google, Facebook to Pay for News Content

Australia says Facebook and Google will soon have to pay news outlets for their content.  Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced Monday that the government’s watchdog group, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, will unveil a mandatory code of conduct by July that will address the disparity between news outlets and internet giants when it comes to online advertising revenue. Facebook and Google receive nearly all online advertising spent in Australia.   The new rules are being undertaken after 18 months of talks with the U.S. tech companies over a voluntary code of conduct failed to yield an agreement. Australia would be the third western country in the world to impose such a plan, following similar moves by Spain and France.   Australian media companies have lost millions of dollars in advertising revenue in just the last month alone thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.   Facebook issued a statement that it was “disappointed” by the government’s decision, noting that it had begun a multi-million dollar investment in Australia’s news industry, while Google said it will continue to work with Australian news outlets, the ACCC and government to develop a code of conduct.  

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