Australia calls out Google for ‘experiment’ blocking some news sites

Google

The Australian government has urged Google to “focus on paying for original content, not blocking it” after the search giant said it had been conducting tests that restrict access to domestic news articles, deepening a rift between the tech giant and also the authorities.

After the company said it was conducting experiments to determine the value of its service to Australian information outlets, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg accused it of “blocking” users as it should be paying for the content.

“The digital giants should focus on paying for original content, not blocking it,” Frydenberg told reporters, speaking to Google and social media behemoth Facebook Inc.

The businesses must “pay traditional news media businesses a fair sum of money for those news media businesses generating original content”, he added.

The spat shows that the powerful resistance by the so-called Big Tech companies to laws that can force them to negotiate with Australian news outlets over payment to the content that appears on their platforms.

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In the event the parties are unable to achieve an agreement, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide for them. In a long-running dispute, Google and Facebook have predicted the rules unfair and suggested they would induce them to restrict their offerings from the country.

After media reports said Australian news sites weren’t showing up in searches, Google confirmed it was running unspecified tests in regard to news websites.

“We’re currently running a few experiments that will each reach about 1% of Google Search users in Australia to measure the impacts of news businesses and Google Search on each other,” a spokesman said in an email, including that the experiments could conclude by early February.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Byron Kaye. Editing by Michael Perry.

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