Facebook and Google have comfortably gathered market forces despite calls for increased regulation and public scrutiny. Although critics the previously unusual monopoly influence of both platforms, staged a coup in the Capitol marks a defining moment in which the public and federal eyes are looked down Great Technology. The calculation of the platform’s catastrophic capabilities if it remained out of control was immediately followed. Former President Donald Trump’s hasty shutdown of Facebook and Twitter accounts for recognition from both companies that their services had somehow, if not excessively, been implicated in the January 6 violence. However, the unimpressed critic, debate that these efforts are merely post-event actions that do not promise the change they need.
Now, both companies face new challenges from Australian legislators and publishers that are redirecting talk of competing corporate and government interests in regulating Big Tech. Months of tension stemmed from a proposed law from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that requires Facebook and Google to pay news organizations for original content displayed on their platforms. That law, which was recently passed by Parliament, the answers are growing complaint from news companies that they are not being fairly compensated for their content and ad revenue enjoyed by Big Tech and the social media industry.
The decision marks the beginning of a revitalized journalism industry. Big Technology and social media have absorbed much of the spotlight that used to shine unilaterally in the news industry. As a result, candy-colored applications dominate physical newspapers various financial setbacks even for America’s largest publication. More concerning is that despite their awareness of misinformation, approx 53% of US adults get their news from social media “often” or “occasionally”. In the status quo where journalism is becoming increasingly digital, and readers are starting to rely heavily on what the Internet provides, it has become an uphill task for newsrooms to stay financially viable. Ben Mathis-Lilley, senior writer at Slate, debate it’s because “a large part of ad spend is sucked in by Facebook and Google, with what’s left increasingly going to Amazon.”
Although the passing of the law – which has just been titled Mandatory Bargaining Code for News Media and Digital Platforms – was achieved through compromise between Australian lawmakers, Google and Facebook, the initial responses of the two companies were very different. Facebook has a bigger role to play in this compromise. But despite Google’s initial rejection, the company was soon agreed to follow Parliament’s terms, while Facebook’s immediate response was to block news in Australia for five days, trigger sharp criticism both at home and abroad.
Nancy Scola, senior technology reporter for Politico Pro, debate that Facebook’s refusal to comply justifies governments and news organizations to push their regulatory agenda harder than ever. He described the company’s actions as “instant food for people in the US who say Facebook is too big, too powerful and almost unmanageable.” Those concerns prompted an antitrust lawsuit against the company late last year.
Following the original suggestion of the law, Google too threatened to hypothetically close its service. But his real-time cooperative actions stand in stark contrast to those of his social networking counterparts. Even more soothing than Google is Microsoft. Brad Smith, company president, even written a blog post officially endorsing Australia’s proposal, highlighting technology’s ability to become one of society’s most powerful double-edged swords.
The continued agitation around the world for increased regulation and accountability points to a disruption to the current inaction of the current government due to Big Tech’s growing socio-political influence. If anything, foreign nations have shown greater leadership in technology regulation than their American counterparts, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison leading global demand. Morrison even used his personal Facebook account to express his displeasure at the company’s response to the proposed law, writing, “Facebook’s actions not to befriend Australia today, cutting off critical information services about health and emergency services, are as proud as they are disappointing. Morrison also wrote that he was in “regular contact with leaders of other countries on this issue,” suggesting a newfound global effort to successfully organize Big Tech.
The different initial responses from Facebook and Google marked a strange difference in the long history of parallels. Although the two companies remain relatively steadfast in their own defenses, the forked signs indicate that tensions between Big Tech and the government have reached a boiling point. Now, the digital giants have little choice but to work with government authorities, even though they may still be able to exert a significant influence on the end result. This is evidenced by how after Facebook’s initial refusal to comply with Australian government rules, then bidding on the bill to make some significant cuts – concluded in the end. compromise with members of parliament.
Such developments could signal the power dynamics of reorienting between popular digital platforms and news organizations, enabling publications to receive appropriate compensation for their content rather than allowing Big Technology and social media to reap the benefits. As Joe McDonald of AP News debateRecent events “suggest the financial balance between multi-billion dollar internet companies and news organizations may be shifting.”
The clear winner of the government technology confrontation is News Corp media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who recently confirmed that it will offer its news content in exchange for “significant payouts”. Robert Thompson, chief executive of News Corporation, too stated approval of Google’s compliance, and highlighted that “trade terms” will change “not only for News Corp, but for every publisher.” Despite Thompson’s alleged optimism for an even distribution of these developments, however, it would be remiss not to mention that the News Corporation – have neither the Wall Street Journal nor the Times – in no way represent the many smaller, less powerful publications that suffer the brunt of the rapidly changing news consumer base.
To this end, it is imperative to recognize the persistent ambiguity about what Google and Facebook’s actions have resulted. Even if Google’s agreement invites large sums of cash into the hands of news organizations, it is still unclear who will benefit from such a transaction. After all, most large news organizations consist of complex hierarchies of journalists and executives. Australian Independent Senator Rex Patrick described legal consequences that allow “big players” to “successfully negotiate with Facebook and Google”, resulting in “all minor players [missing] outside.”
President of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance Marcus Storm, too underlined the need to “urge a case for transparency” about how funds are distributed, insisting that “any money from this deal must end up in the newsroom, not in the boardroom.” Such reality is a stark reminder that although Australian legislation marks a critical legislative step towards international technological accountability, appropriate compensation for various news platforms is more difficult to actualize than towering executives may wish to admit.
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