Last week the social media giant Facebook stopped showing news content in Australia. But now, in a major breakthrough, it will restore all the Australia News Feed in the coming days. Earlier Facebook and Google have opposed planned law which would force the tech companies to pay Australian publishers for news content.
Why was this bill introduced?
A major part of the content on Facebook and Google is news. Even in India, 28% of the young generation is dependent on social media for news. The news websites develop the news content, but a major portion of the earnings is credited to Google and Facebook. This is the reason the Government of Australia has brought a bill that provided the tech companies like Facebook and Google to share a part of their earnings with the news publishers. However, it was not clear in the law as to how many shares the tech companies will have to share.
After a thorough investigation for a year and a half, the Competition and Commission of Australia found out that Google and Facebook were getting $53 out of every $100 spent on digital advertising in the Australian Media sector.
The bill was already passed in the lower house of the Australian Parliament and with the unity in the Australian Parliament; it was eminent that there would be no problem in the Senate. And once the Senate passes the bill it will become a law.
The breakthrough came after the series of talks between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg of the Australian Government and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The major clause of the agreement states a government-appointed arbitrator must give two month mediation period before the parties get in an agreement. It also assures to take into consideration the interests of the internet companies. However, we will have to wait for the complete details about the terms and conditions of the agreement between Facebook and the Australian Government.
“We are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” Facebook official statement.
Should India follow the suit?
There is an opportunity for Indian companies to control the content if a similar law is made in India. This will pave the path for an independent and trustworthy digital news ecosystem. However, some experts say that sharing the revenue is not a solution. The big tech companies will continue to dominate the market with the help of AI. However, a common man can expect quality news content news in his feed.