Google pauses release of News Showcase feature in Australia over ‘unworkable’ policy
Google said that Australia’s policy is ‘extremely broad and lacks vital definitions’, which makes it difficult to know how to comply with its many provisions.
Google today announced that it was pausing the rollout of its News Showcase feature in Australia over the country's unworkable content policy.
To give you a quick brief Australia is planning to implement a new policy called the News Media Bargaining Code within its borders. This policy if implemented would force companies like Google and Facebook to pay the news publishers for the content that they share on its platform. For better understanding, the company will have to make payments to the news publishers for the content that appears on Google News and even Google Search.
Google in a blog post explaining its decision has argued that Australia's policy is ‘unworkable'.
“The draft code proposes, in effect, a ‘must include, must pay' system, something that's extreme and unprecedented. It essentially forces Google to provide a benefit to Australian news businesses and to pay them to receive that benefit,” Google wrote in the blog post.
The company further explained that the policy forces it to negotiate payments to a news publisher if it makes the company's news content available on its platform. This, Google says, is an unequal negotiation.
Furthermore, the company said that Australia's policy is ‘extremely broad and lacks vital definitions', which makes it difficult to know how to comply with its many provisions. “We could be fined up to 10 percent of our Australian revenue for a single breach. No business in Australia should have to manage the huge risk that comes with such severe penalties for such uncertain provisions,” the company added.
That said, the company said it isn't opposed to a code. However, the code must be amended to make it fair and workable.
“We've proposed changes to the ACCC and the Government, and we're continuing to engage with them constructively so we can get to a fair code for everyone,” Google added.