Google confirmed it blocked some Australian news websites for a small number of users. The government reacted and asked the giant to focus on paying for Australian content, rather than blocking access to it.
Media reported news websites blocked
Some media reported that there were some news websites established in Australia that would not appear in search results. Afterwards, Google confirmed it decided to block those, but only for a small number of users.
Shortly after, the company came with an explanation. Thus, it decided to conduct experiments. And these should determine the value of its services to the news outlets in Australia.
Still, its decision came as the giant, together with Facebook and other tech companies, try to force the Australian authorities give up their plan. The government introduced, last month, legislation to force both tech giants, but not only, pay media outlets for their content.
So, the Australian Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, reacted. He said that “The digital giants should focus on paying for original content, not blocking it. That’s my message to those digital giants.”
The law is in the Senate
The Australian Senate started debating the law and it should become effective this month. Both companies mentioned that the rules are unfair and started threatening they would limit their offerings in the country.
The act would also cover ABC and SBS, which are the two public broadcasters. According to the document the search engine and the social media platform should share with the publishers the user data of news stories.
Frydenberg emphasized “That is a world-leading scheme that we are putting in place.” And he explained that regulatory agencies and governments already admitted it.
Google claims that its services would become worse if the new rules about news websites come into action. But it also started an advertising campaign about the potential damages of such a law.
Still, the print media’s advertising income declined by 75% since 2005, according to the government. Moreover, some companies had to fire their employees because of this, in the last years.
So, this is a real war between the authorities and tech giants, which might lead to an important change of the advertising rules for the next decade.