Australia passes law forcing Google and Facebook to pay news publications

Building on the earlier post on this topic, I wanted to keep talking about thisĀ  because it is interesting and will probably influence Canadian legislation.

For context, some highlights from the c net article linked below:
– Following a new Australian bill, “Google and Facebook are required to negotiate licensing agreements with publishers for the news articles that appear on Google search and Facebook’s feed.”
– “This legislation will help level the playing field and see Australian news media businesses paid for generating original content,” said Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg
– In response, Facebook pulled all of their news from their platform for 5 days
– Collateral damage: “When Facebook blocked news from its Australian platform, pages for official agencies like Queensland Health and the Bureau of Meteorology also went blank. ”
– “After Facebook cut news from Australian users, the country’s treasurer continued negotiations with Zuckerberg. That lead to Facebook committing to reversing its news blockade on Monday in exchange for amendments to the code.”
– “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he intends to “ensure the revenues of web giants are shared more fairly with creators and media.” Ministers in the UK and EU have cited Australia’s example as inspiration for potential future legislation.”

You can read a couple articles on the issue here: https://www.cnet.com/news/australia-passes-law-forcing-google-and-facebook-to-pay-news-publications/
and here: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/understanding-facebooks-news-ban-in-australia-and-what-it-means-for-the-p/595394/

I see several issues at play here, including competition policy, industry self-regulation and quality of reporting. While I like that news companies will be better compensated for their work, I worry that this gives companies like Facebook even more power to influence what is written because journalists will be incentivized to write the articles that those companies are willing to pay for. In addition, should we be supporting the old journalism model / media companies to this extent?

What do you guys think?

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