BigTech’s underground forces: Why is Facebook deciding to fight Australia and Google not?

Tram Ho

Today, readers have many sources to go to an article. Be it reading in the newspaper itself or on the app, in the West also developing the form of newsletter and podcast. However, probably the largest proportion will be those who come to the article through a link on Facebook. But with the exception of Australia – where on February 18 the world’s largest social network decided to block all article links on the Facebook application in Australia as well as block all Australian articles from appearing on Facebook on a global scale. world.

It’s the latest move, and arguably Facebook’s last option in the long war around who should pay for online news. Instead of paying media companies for linking to articles as required by the new Australian law, Facebook chose to block all of these links. Hours earlier, Google – the tech giant also affected by the new law – chose the stark opposite of signing a deal with billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to share revenue.

Thế lực ngầm của các BigTech: Vì sao Facebook quyết chiến với Australia còn Google thì không? - Ảnh 1.

This controversy (which is far from over) is just the tip of the battle between Silicon Valley’s new media tycoons and traditional television and newspapers on the other. What’s happening in Australia will be an indicator of what’s going on around the world in the coming months.

Australia’s new law has only been built for 3 years, but in fact the profound story has existed a long time ago. About 10 years ago, traditional press agencies controlled more than 80% of the advertising market in Australia. But like the rest of the world, advertising agencies have realized that digital media will help them reach a much better audience, leading to a halving of offline media share. To benefit the most from that are Facebook (which dominates display ads) and Google (dominates the search market).

Media companies claim that by displaying ads alongside links to their articles – sometimes with brief summaries and photos, Google and Facebook monetized content that they didn’t. clown made. By contrast, it is the media companies’ main argumentations that are the beneficiaries. Facebook said last year it returned 5.1 billion clicks to Australian news publishers, giving them $ 317 million. And if publishers feel they are being hurt, why don’t they come to the decision to simply stop publishing Facebook posts?

The solution that the Australian government is proposing (currently submitting to the Senate) is that technology platforms will negotiate on how much money they will pay publishers. If the two sides do not reach a consensus, 1 referee will decide which side’s proposal is more fair. The new law also requires technology companies to notify publishers in advance of any algorithmic changes that may affect them.

Paying a news publisher is unprecedented. Last month, Google agreed to compensate publishers in France. The two also recently launched specialized news products – Google News Showcase and Facebook News – in which content creators will be paid.

However, Australia’s “winner gets all” arbitration mechanism is more drastic than the French system, where disputes can be resolved by the courts. And it is possible that in France, there is a payment for quoting news, not just linking articles. Moreover, the need to be open when changing algorithms (which are secret and frequent) makes the technology giants “out of flames”.

However, the response of Facebook and Google is completely different. While Facebook turned away and confronted, Google was more humble. Under a three-year agreement with News Corp, Google will hand over a (unspecified) sum of money to use content from the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the US along with The Times and The Sun in the UK in Google News Showcase. A few days before, Google also had a similar agreement with Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment.

If you block all news links like Facebook, the power of the Google search engine will decline and could lead users to turn to competitors like Bing (operated by Microsoft, the corporation applauded the law. new Australia).

For Facebook, news plays a less important role as it accounts for less than 4% of what users see on their message boards. And even though Australia is one of Facebook’s biggest overseas markets, its share of global revenue remains modest.

However, public response in Australia is testing Facebook’s inference. Not only blocking news from newspapers, Facebook also accidentally deleted links to health agencies, a fire service and a project to support children with cancer among other important things. Although these errors were quickly corrected, Facebook was still criticized and raised concerns about the social network’s power. Australian media – which are concentrated in the hands of News Corp – run the headline “No one loves a” non-social “network that has blocked millions of users”.

On his personal Facebook page, Prime Minister Scott Morrison criticized Facebook’s “unlinking Australia” response only to further confirm concerns that more and more countries are thinking about the behavior of BigTech, but Tech corporations claim to be larger than the government and do not need to follow any rules. ” Julian Knight, the chairman of the communications committee in the House of Representatives, accused Facebook of “bullying” partners. “These platforms make enormous sums of money from the work of others without paying them back,” he told the BBC.

The European Union – which is arguing about a stricter set of laws governing tech companies – is considering a similar move. In early February, Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp, stated that “there are no serious regulators in the world that do not oversee the transparency of algorithms, the integrity of personal data, price professional journalism and digital advertising market turmoil.

If Australia’s model is replicated, the world will see a fiercer battle between tradition and modernity. And whoever wins, one thing is for sure, small companies will lose the most. Too small to get into the new law, they’ll still have to stand there and watch their bigger rivals get stronger if Google and Facebook are defeated. If platforms go, they lose the most important channels of content delivery.

Australia has been successful in pulling money out of Silicon Valley’s pockets. But it is not clear whether the new law will be of much help to the press.

See The Economist

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Source : Genk