Australia on Tuesday finalised plans to make Facebook and Alphabet’s Google pay its media outlets for news content, in an effort to protect independent journalism.
Under the new law, the companies would have to negotiate with local publishers how much they pay for content that appears on their platforms. If they cannot strike a deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide for them.
“This is a huge reform, this is a world first and the world is watching what happens here in Australia. Our legislation will help ensure that the rules of the digital world mirror the rules of the physical world … and ultimately sustain our media landscape”, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
Facebook Australia managing director Will Easton said Tuesday that the company would review the legislation and “engage through the upcoming parliamentary process with the goal of landing on a workable framework to support Australia’s news ecosystem”.
An estimated 17 million Australians spend an average of 30 minutes on Facebook a day, while 98% of Australian mobile searches use Google.