Google said that it could pull its search services from Australia if the country passes its debatable law that requires big tech companies to pay media organizations for listing their content.
In a Senate hearing, and later in a video, Google Australia’s Managing Director, Mel Silva, said that the proposed media law “would break how Google search works.”
Mel Silva, Managing Director for Google Australia, explains why there is a workable news code that doesn’t break Google Search. Learn more about what the News Media Bargaining Code means for you at https://t.co/X4UoySQPLw pic.twitter.com/9UjtaPW0zZ
— googledownunder (@googledownunder) January 22, 2021
In a blog post, Silva said this law will hinder unrestricted linking of webpages and the company will have to stop its search service in the country:
Coupled with the unmanageable financial and operational risk if this version of the Code were to become law it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia.
All of this started in 2019 when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) began to form a voluntary code to bring parity between media organizations and tech companies such as Google and Facebook. Last year, the federal government ordered ACCC to draw up a mandatory version of it.
The Australian government’s argument is that big tech benefits from surfacing news links on their platforms. While Google says it just displays news links and leaves it to the user to choose which site to visit.
In response to Google’s threat to leave the country, the Prime Minister said that the company has to play by the laws:
Let me be clear. Australia makes its rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government and that’s how things work here in Australia and people who want to work with that in Australia, you’re very welcome. But we don’t respond to threats.
The search giant has repeatedly said and it’s already ready to accept a code that doesn’t break user search and pay media organizations under the Google Showcase program. The company claims to serve over 19 million Australians every year, and the company’s pullout would have a sizable impact on the country’s internet. It’s time for the government and the corporate to work together for user interest.