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(CMR) Australia's parliament passed a law on Thursday requiring technology giants Facebook and Google to pay for news content shared on their platforms.
The landmark law will make Facebook and Google negotiate with media companies and pay for news content that gets distributed on their sites.
Facebook and Google had opposed the initial version of the legislation, which would have allowed media outlets to bargain either individually or collectively with them; however, the technology giants now have the power to choose their preferred media outlet.
Officials pushed the law forward even after Facebook imposed a roughly five-day news blackout in Australia last week.
Google had also threatened to shut off its search engine in Australia if the proposal became law. However, both have since accepted the amended law.
Rod Sims, the competition regulator who drafted the code, said he was happy that the amended legislation would address the market imbalance between Australian news publishers and the two gateways to the internet, Fox Business reported.
“The purpose of the code is to address the market power that clearly Google and Facebook have. Google and Facebook need media, but they don’t need any particular media company, and that meant media companies couldn’t do commercial deals,” Rod Sims said.
However, there have been concerns among small media houses that small publications may miss out on deals with these companies.
Sims said he was not surprised that the platforms would strike deals with the large city businesses first.
“I don’t see any reason why anybody should doubt that all journalism will benefit,” Sims said.
He told Fox Business that things take time and that “Google and Facebook don’t have unlimited resources to go around talking to everybody. I think this has got a long way to play out.”