Internet media platform Facebook has banned viewing and sharing of news in Australia. Facebook is in conflict with the government over Australia’s media law. Interestingly, the proposed draft legislation has not yet taken shape and Facebook has banned its service in Australia. Even in this time of epidemic, the health departments and the dissemination of information related to it were banned by Facebook only on the basis that the potential law could reduce its profit. Actually Facebook is following the policy that if the law affects its business, then it can stop its service. After all, why is Facebook behaving like this?
In fact, in April 2020, the Australian Government asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop a mechanism that would create a balanced business relationship between Australian media houses and digital platforms. After this, as per the suggestion of ACCC, the government has introduced a bill in the name of Media Code in Parliament. The essence of this code is that now in Australia, Google and Facebook will have to pay that news provider in exchange for news shared on their platform. To illustrate this with the Indian example, Google and Facebook can share any news of a media establishment on their platform only if it has already reached such a commercial agreement between the concerned media establishment and Google / Facebook. Right now Google or Facebook do not pay for any news being shared on their platform to the media establishment that has prepared its content.
Now this code says that Google and Facebook must first enter into a deal with media establishments, under which they can share their news on their platform only after paying a mutually agreed amount. Failure has also been made for not following this rule. The Government of Australia says that this will ensure the public participation of journalism and the benefits of combined labor of media establishments will not only be limited to Google and Facebook, but also to those who are contributing the most. This will lead to the development of a clean economy of media, which will ultimately make the media better and responsible.
Now, if we consider from this point of view that why this law is needed, then the reason for this is clear. The digital world is demonizing a huge economy, but it is benefiting only select institutions. Through statistics, Google and 53 percent of total digital advertising is with Google and 28 percent. This indicates an unbalanced condition. Especially traditional media establishments are finding it difficult to survive in this race. Interestingly, these companies are getting such a large part of the profit when they do not have any content of their own. It is important to have a balanced system. This media code seems to be making similar efforts. Since this law is forcing these giants to share profits, they are naturally opposing it. Facebook has called it an end to autonomy and Google is opposed to making it binding. Facebook, in protest, banned the news on its platform in Australia. However, in this case Google is moving towards such bilateral agreements in an alternative and autonomous manner, where media establishments are being paid.
Google has created a new product called News Showcase in which media establishments are being paid for publishing news. A news showcase records detailed and systematic information far beyond the normal search. Under the same news showcase, Google has paid about $ 30 million, or about 2.17 billion rupees, for a year to Australian media group Seven West Media for publishing the news. Not only this, Google has thus compromised a total of 46 media groups, big and small. On the other hand, although Facebook is paying large sums of money to a UK media group under its licensed product feature, in Australia it is yet to materialize such a plan. According to reports, he is going to start it soon in Australia too, but currently he has stopped spreading the news there.
The opposition to these companies and the fear that the states might not be able to influence the free spread of news in its wake, seems a progressive law. Apart from this, there is a danger that this new system may not change the direction of news. In spite of all this, it would be reasonable to assume that after all the organizations that produce content should also have a share in the profits. A country like India should also move in this direction. Once the income of the big and small media establishments increases in this way, it will not only become easier to maintain them, but other measures taken to raise finances will also be avoided. Thus it will make both the reader and the publisher more responsive to each other, as this is ultimately what determines the digital format of advertising in the market.