Australian government unveils draft bill that’ll force Google and Facebook to pay news outlets

The Australian government unveiled a plan to force tech giants such as Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for their content.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission draft allows news companies to negotiate as a bloc with tech giants for content which appears in their news feeds and search results.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the “world-leading” draft code of conduct aimed to give publishers “a level playing field to ensure a fair go”.

Many news outlets have shut or shed jobs this year amid falling profits.

Facebook and Google strongly oppose the proposal, even suggesting they could walk away from Australia’s news market.

Mr Frydenberg said the code of conduct – drafted by Australia’s competition regulator – would be debated by parliament.

It could impose up to US$7 million or 10% of the company’s local turnover tech companies which fail to comply, Frydenberg said.

The code will initially focus on Google and Facebook but could be expanded to other tech companies, the treasurer added.

The draft bill would now be subjected to a month long consultation before being debated in parliament.