Australia passes law to make tech giants pay for news content

Written on 02/25/2021

Australia has become the world’s first nation to make digital companies such as Facebook and Google pay for news content from domestic outlets.

Parliament approved the law on Thursday that would allow a government arbitrator to decide the price a digital company should pay news outlets if the two sides fail to reach an agreement.

The final legislation includes a set of amendments as part of an agreement reached between the Australian government and Facebook.

The amendments include a two-month mediation period that would give social media giants and news publishers extra time to broker agreements before they are forced to abide by the government’s provisions.

The agreements ended a stalemate that prompted Facebook to block all Australian news content last week, preventing them from being viewed or shared.

The websites of several public agencies and emergency services were also blocked on Facebook, including pages that include up-to-date information on COVID-19 outbreaks, brushfires and other natural disasters.