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Ireland should consider forcing Facebook, Google to pay for news & media content like Australia has done: PM

Ireland’s head of government Leo Varadkar has suggested that the Irish government consider copying Australia in forcing Facebook and Google to share ad revenue with local media companies, reports Irish News. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter are “sort of free-riders” on costs made by others. Charging them for content “seem to me to be a very good idea”, he said. “I think the new government will want to study that and see if it makes sense to do something similar in Ireland. On the face of it, it is a good idea,” said Varadkar, whose party is in talks with rivals on the formation of a new government.

“I have seen in other countries, what seems to be a good idea at first may turn out not to be — but I do think it is something that we need to study and it may be a future approach that we can implement in Ireland and across Europe to share out more fairly, the revenues that media platforms of all sorts make,” Varadkar said. Ireland houses Facebook’s European headquarters.

Australia to force platforms — Facebook, Google — to pay for news & media content

Australia is developing a mandatory code of conduct to address commercial arrangements between digital platforms and news media businesses to “help create a level playing field and a fairer go for all”. The code — to be developed by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) — will cover sharing of data, transparency of ranking algorithms and display of news content, and the monetisation and the sharing of revenue generated from news. It will also define news content that will be covered, and will cover services such as Instagram and Twitter. Australia found the its media sector was already under pressure, and was now hit by the coronavirus crisis. Australia’s treasurer, who headed the code’s development so far, said “It is only fair that the search engines and social media giants pay for the original news content that they use to drive traffic to their sites”.

France imposes a remuneration mandate on Google: Earlier this month, the French competition authority, the Authorité de la Concurrence, ruled that Google would have to negotiate with news publishers to remunerate them for article snippets the search giant shows in search results. The ruling was based on a suit filed by French publishers after the country’s implementation of the EU’s Copyright Directive, which specifically targeted aggregators like Google for profiting from news companies without remunerating them.

In 2014, Spain had passed a law similar to the EU-wide directive that led to Google no longer offering Google News in that country.

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