BRIEF: Australia vs Facebook

For years, journalism has suffered as Facebook and Google gobbled up advertising revenue.

Australia is fighting back, and wants to pass a bill that forces the Internet giants to pay media publishers for the right to include their news content on social media platforms and search engines. Australian lawmakers say they want “to curb the tech giants’ power over digital advertising (a major cause of news publishers’ declining revenues over the past two decades)”, Business Insider reports. 

As SA journalist Toby Shapshak says in Business Day, while Facebook and Google clocked up a combined $267bn in revenue last year, the media industry that relied on advertising has been decimated. Facebook responded by banning news content for all of Australia (what was that about freedom of speech, Mark Zuckerberg?) in a petty move. Google, meanwhile, said it will negotiate deals with news publishers in the country. We may be enemies when it comes to sport, but when it comes to press freedom, we’re with Australia on this one. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 25 February 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.