A country without Google. Australia challenges the search engine and Facebook

A country without Google

A country without Google may seem impossible. But for Paul Fletcher, Minister of Communications of Australia, its inhabitants could get by perfectly with Bing, the search engine of MIcrosoft.

A country without Google

Fletcher's response was prompted by a local senior Google manager that it would be an unsustainable risk for its operations in Australia to continue operating under the new Media Negotiation Code that is being debated in that country's parliament.

The new law will oblige both Google and Facebookka inform media companies of algorithm changes that substantially affect referral news traffic, to the classification of the news behind the paywalls and to any significant change in the display and presentation of the news and the advertising directly associated with it.

This is how the new code will work

According to the authorities of the Australian Commission for Competition and Consumers, the new code adopts a model based on negotiation, mediation and arbitration.

The objective is_

… Facilitate in the best possible way a genuine commercial negotiation between the parties, allowing commercially negotiated results appropriate to the different business models used by Australian media companies.

According to its promoters, the code is flexible enough for an individual media outlet or groups of media companies to come to an agreement that is tailored to their needs.

In the event that news organizations and digital platforms fail to reach an agreement through a formal three-month negotiation and mediation process, It will be an independent arbitrator who must choose which of the final offers of the two parties is the most reasonable. You will have a period of 45 business days to do so.

A code with two recipients

Although they do not rule out adding other platforms in case a manifest power imbalance is detected, the code is intended to be applied with Google and Facebook.

Rod Sims, chairman of the commission stated that:

There is a fundamental imbalance in bargaining power between media companies and major digital platforms, in part because news companies have no choice but to deal with the platforms, and have had little ability to negotiate the payment of their content or other issues

We wanted a model that would address this imbalance in bargaining power and result in fair payment for content, that would avoid unproductive and lengthy negotiations, and would not reduce the availability of Australian news on Google and Facebook,

According to code the media organizations will have to notify Google or Facebook of their intention to start negotiating payment for the content, as well as any other issue they want to include in the negotiation process.

In a statement to the Australian Congress, the CEO of Google Australia and New Zealand, Mel Silva, said that what worries his company is that the code requires the search engine to pay for links and fragments in Search.

According to the executive, this requirement would set an unsustainable precedent for your business and the digital economy, and I quote expert opinions that the code is not compatible with the operation of search engines or the Internet.

In what was taken by the parliamentarians as blackmail, he declared:

The principle of unrestricted linking between websites is central to Search and, along with unmanageable financial and operational risk, if this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Search for Google is available in Australia

That would be a bad result for us, but also for Australians, the diversity of the media and the small businesses that use our products.

Not all Australian politicians are enthusiastic about the project.

Alex Gallacher, of the opposition center-left Labor party, claimed that the Government was complicit in the underfunding of the traditional media by switching to other advertising methods.

He asked himself

By doing what everyone else is doing, are we trying to save the sinking Titanic?


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  1.   Miguel Rodríguez said

    And as always, legislators do their thing again, now it is about how two companies negotiate so that advertising is favorable only for one of the parties, understand protectionism, “if after X days they do not reach a formal agreement, State will decide for you ».

    Intriguing to the level of computer literacy of legislators, as well as their math skills, LxA it is time for them to dust off the story and write an article on the Indiana Bill on Squaring the Circle also known as the "Pi Bill."

  2.   Mario said

    As I remember until the internet began to become popular back in 1995, more or less, the world lived without Google, Faceoook, Yahoo and so many wonders of today, and the world kept turning the same, we breathed, ate and lived without internet
    And nobody is dying for not having google or facebook as we know them today.
    If you don't believe me, you can ask those over 35 and they will tell you ...
    You have to put a limit on these companies, I don't know how or which one, but they can't do what they want just because they are.