Australia to force Facebook, Google to pay for news

Australia will become the first country to force U.S tech firms Facebook and Google to pay its national media outlets for news.

It's a move seen to protect independent journalism and may draw attention from around the world as the tech giants fend off global calls for more regulation.

It's set to become law this year. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Friday (July 31), Facebook and Google will pay for content under a royalty style system.

"It's about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it's about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection, and a sustainable media landscape."

The news follows hard lobbying from media companies themselves, including NewsCorp Australia, a unit of Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp.

It also comes after a national inquiry into the power of the U.S platforms last year, where the government told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content.

But the talks went nowhere.

Now, the government says if an agreement cannot be reached through arbitration within 45 days the Australian [Communications] Media Authority will set legally binding terms.

Google said the regulation ignores quote "billions of clicks" that it sends to Australian news publishers each year.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Video Transcript

- Australia will become the first country to force US tech firms Facebook and Google to pay its national media outlets for news. It's a move seen to protect independent journalism, and may draw attention from around the world, as the tech giants fend off global calls for more regulation. It's set to become law this year.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Friday, Facebook and Google will pay for content under a royalty style system.

JOSH FRYDENBERG: It's about a fair go for Australian news media businesses. It's about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable media landscape.

- The news follows hard lobbying from media companies themselves, including News Corp Australia, a unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. It also comes after a national inquiry into the power of the US platforms last year, where the government told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content. But the talks went nowhere. Now, the government says if an agreement cannot be reached through arbitration within 45 days, the Australian media authority will set legally binding terms.

Google said the regulation ignores, quote, "billions of clicks" that it sends to Australian news publishers each year. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.