Google and technology have changed the world of journalism in an unprecedented way. However, the revolution has come with its fair share of downsides, where local publishers have been left on the mercy of the biggest search engine in the world to get paid for their content. A new law that aims to empower journalists and get them paid for their content to be displayed on Google in Australia has faced criticism from the tech giant. Today, Google, has said that it cannot abide by this mode, adding that it would have to pull out from the region is the law is enforced.
Mel Silva, Google’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand said that the proposed law is unworkable, adding that “If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia.” She also said that law sets an “untenable financial and operational precedent.”
However, Australia is still persistent on enforcing the law, with Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying, “We don’t respond to threats.”
“Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our parliament. It’s done by our government. And that’s how things work here in Australia,” he said.
This controversy is specially confusing since Google recently entered into a partnership with French media houses to pay them for exclusive content. Earlier, when publishers in the region started demanding for financial compensation from Google for displaying snippets of their content, the company decided to stop showing them in search results altogether. Now, it has partnered with publishers in the region.
Thus, the tech giant is already paying publishers in a fashion that is similar to the Australian government’s demands.
Facebook, which is the only other company that will come under the jurisdiction of this new law, has also opposed it vehemently. The company said that it would ban news from being shared on its products in Australia if the law was brought in. Moreover, it claims that it has already slowed down its investments in the region over the controversy.
This threat is display of the immense power the companies like Google hold on culture today, and can very well change the landscape of technology journalism in the coming future.