‘We don’t respond to threats’: PM responds to Google’s ultimatum

Original article by Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 23-Jan-21

Google has threatened to withdraw its search product from Australia if the federal government’s legislation for a mandatory news bargaining code proceeds in its present form. The code would see Google and Facebook required to strike deals with media publishers to pay for the journalistic content they use on their platforms. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told Google the federal government does not respond to threats, while Liberal senator Andrew Bragg has accused Google of attempting to "blackmail" Australian policymakers by threatening to withdraw from Australia.

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GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

Calls for big tech to unmask anonymous online abusers

Original article by Paul Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 22-Jan-21

Changes to the Online Safety Act could see the eSafety Commissioner given new powers to seek identification behind anonymous accounts on digital platforms. Individuals could be fined up to $110,000 for abusive behaviour, while content hosts could be hit with fines up to $550,000. ESafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant has urged the big technology platforms to do more to address the problems caused by anonymous accounts, with such accounts used by backers of the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon being prominently cited by members of the mob that recently attacked the US Capitol.

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Facebook, Google code ‘won’t breach trade pact’

Original article by John Kehoe, Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 22-Jan-21

There have been claims that proposed laws that would see Google and Facebook pay publishers for their journalism would breach the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement. However, federal government ministers are confident that this is not the case, having received legal and international trade advice on the matter, while Nine Entertainment CEO Hugh Marks stated recently that there is "clearly no breach of the free trade agreement". Executives from news publishers, the big digital platforms and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission will appear before a Senate hearing on 22 January to be questioned about the proposed news media and digital platforms mandatory bargaining code.

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GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Google, Facebook fight code in Senate

Original article by David Swan, Patrick Commins
The Weekend Australian – Page: 3 : 16-Jan-21

A Senate committee is holding an inquiry into the proposed mandatory media bargaining code between technology companies and traditional publishers, and is due to report on 12 February. Google and Facebook are set to voice their opposition to the code at a public committee hearing on 22 January; Google has threatened to quit Australia if the code is made law, while Facebook has stated it will ban the sharing of news on its Australian platform. The code will compel Google and Facebook to mediate with publishers over the value of their news, with fines of up to $10 million possible if they fail to comply.

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GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Google doubles down on claims news bargaining code will break search

Original article by Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 7-Jan-21

Google Australia has repeated previous claims that the federal government’s proposed bargaining code between traditional media companies and digital companies will ‘break’ the way its search function works. Google does not object to the principle of paying to support journalism, but contends it should be done differently to what the government is proposing. It argues that its $1.3 billion global licensing program is the best mechanism for it to negotiate with media publishers and pay for their content, while it contends the government’s code will favour some media companies over others.

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GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC

Nine opposes concession to tech giants

Original article by Max Mason, Natasha Gillezeau, John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 9-Dec-20

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the federal government’s mandatory news media bargaining code for digital platforms is a "world-first". He has dismissed suggestions that the government has made too many concessions in the final version of the code to gain the support of digital giants such as Google and Facebook. These include adding a ‘two-way value exchange’ clause which reflect the benefits that news publishers receive from having digital platforms direct users to their content. A Nine Entertainment spokesman says this will merely entrench both the monopoly powers of digital companies and the unfair imbalance in media regulation.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC

News firms in stand for fairer future

Original article by James Madden
The Australian – Page: 19 : 23-Nov-20

Some of Australia’s top media industry executives have jointly signed an ‘open letter’ to the federal government expressing support for its proposed media bargaining code. The letter also outlines the features that must be included in the code to ensure a level playing field between traditional media companies and digital platforms such as Facebook and Google. Seven West Media CEO James Warburton, News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller and Free TV CEO Bridget Fair are amongst those who signed the letter, which will be published in all major metropolitan newspapers on 23 November.

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SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, FREE TV AUSTRALIA LIMITED, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, GOOGLE INCORPORATED

Facebook will be loser if it bans news: Sims

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 & 22 : 18-Sep-20

Facebook and Google would be forced to pay for news content that is posted on their platforms under the mandatory code of conduct proposed by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. Facebook has threatened to ban all news on its platform in response to the code, but ACCC chairman Rod Sims contends that such action could weaken the social media company. Sims has also rejected claims made in public campaigns by Facebook and Google that the proposed code will give news publishers access to their algorithms.

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FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

PM tells Google and Facebook: You’re bluffing

Original article by Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 11 : 8-Sep-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told Facebook and Google that he does not give into coercion. The two technology companies are unhappy about federal government plans to make them pay news publishers for their content; Facebook has threatened to pull Australian and international content from its Facebook and Instagram platforms in response to the code, while Google has stated it will have to cull news content from search results. Morrison said he is happy to call their bluff on the issue.

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GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Google may walk over media code

Original article by John Durie
The Australian – Page: 15 & 24 : 20-Aug-20

Google’s revenue in Australia totalled $4.3bn in 2020, while its net profit fell from $129.5m to just $33.9m. Although the digital giant has not publicly threatened to withdraw its search engine from the Australian market in response to the mandatory code of conduct, such a move is clearly being contemplated. Any move by Google to pull out of the local market could test the resolve of other nations to crack down on digital companies. It would also be very risky from a commercial point of view, as it would give Google’s search engine rivals a big boost in a market which it dominates.

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GOOGLE INCORPORATED