Proposed changes to Australian digital media regulation have to be skillfully handled at a foreign policy level to avoid upsetting the USA, our most important ally.
Australia’s US alliance is the cornerstone of our defence and foreign policy. However, to support local media organisations, the government is prepared to make Google and Facebook pay for content generated by traditional Australian media. Mandatory local content rules are also under consideration for streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime.
The government is reacting to pressure from Australian media who believe that they are under threat due to the loss of advertising revenue. Privacy advocates are worried about identity theft and are also demanding the regulation of social media organisations.
Australia is proposing Google submit its news search algorithms to a government agency for review and approval. However, the algorithms are a personalised service that uses machine learning to provide bespoke search results that match personal profiles.
Other countries, including the US, are watching what Australia is doing and might consider introducing similar legislation—this is a critical issue for Australia, therefore, worth investigating further.
- Feb 2021 SFGATE Australia report says make Google and Facebook pay for news
- Feb 2021 Sydney Morning Herald, Google, Nine agree commercial terms for news content
- Feb 2021 The Verge Why Google caved to Australia, and Facebook didn't - The Verge
- Feb 2021 Washington Post Australia is demanding tech giants pay for news. Google relented, Facebook didn’t
- Feb 2021 CNN Facebook blocks users from sharing news in Australia
- Feb 2021 dignomica Facebook unfriends Australia - a war with a sovereign nation that might yet boomerang back on it around the world.
- Feb 2021 ABC Facebook just restricted access to news in Australia. Here's what that means for you