Australia will force Facebook and Google to share ad revenue with local media

Australia will demand Facebook and Google share advertising revenue with local media companies, according to a report in Reuters.

The move will be an attempt to loosen the tech giants’ grip on the media market in the country and will make Australia one of the first countries to force tech companies to pay for media content they use.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters Monday that he was aware they would get pushback and was “prepared for this fight” against Google and Facebook.

Frydenberg said the new rules were issued after Facebook and Google failed to address complaints that they were monopolizing the Australian advertising markets, according to Reuters.

The Treasurer had also asked the two companies to voluntarily share “data and revenue generated from news.”

Now the companies will be forced to share data and will face a penalty if they don’t.

A report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released in July 2019 found that almost one-third of the total amount of online advertising revenue in Australia goes solely to Facebook and Google, leaving small local firms, not to mention news outlets, to gobble up the rest.

Australia’s advertising industry is worth more than $5.72 billion a year (in U.S. dollars), and has grown steadily, Reuters said.

Facebook, in a statement to Digital Trends, said they were “disappointed by the Government’s announcement.”

“We’ve invested millions of dollars locally to support Australian publishers through content arrangements, partnerships and training for the industry and hope the code will protect the interests of millions of Australians and small businesses that use our services every day,” said Facebook’s Australia and New Zealand managing director Will Easton.

In an emailed statement, Google told Digital Trends, “We’ve worked for many years to be a collaborative partner to the news industry, helping them grow their businesses through ads and subscription services and increase audiences by driving valuable traffic. Since February, we have engaged with more than 25 Australian publishers to get their input on a voluntary code and worked to the timetable and process set out by the ACCC. We have sought to work constructively with industry, the ACCC and Government to develop a Code of Conduct, and we will continue to do so in the revised process set out by the Government today.”

Huge tech companies like Facebook and Google make the majority of their money from advertising.

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