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Current Affairs

Australia’s media bargaining law

Date: 20 February 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

 Facebook has decided to black out news content from its social networking platform in Australia.

 

Background

The Australian government has introduced a new bargaining law to control social media giants. The response of Facebook is based on the law.

 

Details

  • Australia’s new media bargaining code requires big tech companies like Google and Facebook to enter into agreements with news outlets that result in a commercial contract for showing the latter’s content on their platforms.

  • At the moment, news publishers get only a portion of the ad revenues generated from their content, or revenue from an agreement like for generating instant articles.

 

Facebook’s issue

  • Facebook says that the code fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.

  • It says that publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audiences and increase advertising revenue.

 

Implications

  • Across the world, publishers have used Facebook as a means to reach out to audiences who use it as a content consumption platform, thus increasing their reach and revenues.

  • Users too re-share a lot of news content, adding to their virality. All this results in millions of visits for news sites referred from Facebook’s timeline.

  • Publishers also have commercial agreements in place with Facebook to allow the social network to host their content in the form of Instant Articles that open faster than publisher pages.

  • Facebook and Google rightly fear the action in Australia could trigger similar laws across the world.