Home Business Laws on negotiations with the media should apply to Facebook

Laws on negotiations with the media should apply to Facebook


Former head of competition Rod Sims is urging the new government to “appoint” Facebook under the federal code of negotiation in the media, which could subject the social media giant to significant fines if it fails to deal with Australian news publishers including SBS and The Conversation. .

But Sims acknowledged that the threat of new laws against Google and Facebook has allowed it to make commercial deals with media companies faster than the original plan could have been – arbitration. Such comments were made after the publication of a report on the code of negotiations in the media, which Sims intends to provide to international regulators considering similar legislation.

Former ACCC chairman Rod Sims wants Facebook to be appointed.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

A code of negotiation with the media was enacted last year to force Google and Facebook to pay large and small news publishers for showing articles on search engines and “news feeds.”

But after protests from the top leadership of the technology giants and disconnect news from Facebook news feed, the government has introduced a loophole – the new laws do not actually apply to either Google or Meta because they are not “intended”. An appointment in the code means that Google or Meta will be required by law to negotiate with relevant publishers or risk fines of up to 10 per cent of Australian revenue. Sims admitted it was not originally a plan.

“We are there faster than we would have gone through arbitration. People would still be talking now … while in six months we’ve made a lot of deals. The goal was to conclude the deals with a fairly equal force of negotiations, ”he said.

“We thought when it all started that the threat would be arbitration. During the discussion with the platforms it became clear that it is determined what really worries them. So we thought, well, if it’s the best way to balance negotiation, it’s good for us. ”

However, he said Facebook did not do enough to avoid the appointment. Facebook has signed deals with a number of publishers, including Nine Entertainment Co (owner of this must-have), Seven West Media and News Corp Australia, publisher Australian and The Herald Sun.. But this did not go to the deals of other news organizations such as SBS and The Conversation. Sims had previously expressed concern about the lack of the two deals, however never explicitly said that the platform should be marked.

“I believe that Facebook should make a deal with SBS and The Conversation, otherwise they need to be marked. It is a matter for the Treasury to inform the Treasurer after the inspection. But I think it is not in the spirit of what is happening here, so that such organizations do not reach a deal, “he said.

Sims ’comments were made after the release of a report that examined key criticisms of the code, including the lack of designation and the transparency of the terms of commercial transactions. Sims denies most critics on the grounds that these things were not the purpose of the code.


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