Google and Facebook will be required to negotiate a fee with newspapers in exchange for the use of their content under the new laws that are being drafted in the hands of government.
If the plan is approved in the future, tech giants will be required to negotiate payment agreements with news organizations for the purpose of displaying their content. If negotiations fail the arbitrators will decide on an appropriate price.
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The plans of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are believed to be based upon a law passed in the Australian government in February of last year. It was met with massive opposition from the two platforms.
Facebook initially reacted to the decision in the form of blocking news and content that was targeted at Australians however it changed its mind after talks with the government, and a few tweaks of the legislation.
Similar measures similar to what is happening in the UK will help counter fears about tech companies taking the largest share of the online advertising revenues in order to ensure that public interest journalism is financed.
The new rules will be overseen through the Digital Markets Unit, the digital watchdog established in the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The platform would be empowered to take action “swiftly and effectively” where the regulator determined that a platform has not provided “fair and reasonable remuneration for its use of publisher content” or a source of government media.
Search engines employ algorithms which control how users access and read news are also being investigated by the unit in the face of criticism from publishers who claim that they are detrimental to the development of high-quality journalism that is paid for.
Google and Facebook made up around 80 percent of the PS14 billion in digital ads across the UK in 2019 as per the CMA. Local and national newspapers received less than 4 percent. Google holds greater than 90 percent part of the search marketing market within the UK. Facebook has more than half of the advertising display industry.
The CMA has declared that it is seeking to “lift the lid on how advertising revenue drives the business model” and make sure that major platform “do not engage in exploitative or exclusionary practices”.
A source from the department informed The Mail on Sunday, which was the first to report the report, that the proposed policy would be “pro-competition” and “supports the sustainability of the press” through addressing issues with “imbalance of power between the largest platforms and publishers”.
Legislation is expected to be adopted “as soon as parliamentary time allows”.
Facebook provides UK news organizations millions of pounds each year to license their content however, it remains at the center of a restraining order over its dominance in online ads. The social media giant also provides funding to 80 trainee reporters working in newsrooms across America in the Community News Project.
The majority of British newspaper publishers agreed to the program that allows articles to be published in a separate section on the website for news. In exchange, publishers have been offered substantial amounts of cash and the promise of new customers.