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Conflict - Australia adheres to media law despite Facebook blockade

Conflict – Australia adheres to media law despite Facebook blockade

Despite the blockade of all media content on Facebook, Australia wants to implement its new media law. The reform, which forces platforms such as Facebook and Google to share their advertising revenues generated with news content with media houses, should pass the Senate next week. Most recently, a majority emerged. The actions of Facebook had triggered criticism worldwide. Other countries want to join Australia’s approach.

The Canadian Minister of Culture Steven Guilbeault announced on Friday night that he wanted to copy the approach in his own draft law, which he wants to present in the next few months. “Canada are at the forefront of this fight,” said Guilbeault.

Worldwide support

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had received support on the matter from leaders of the UK, France and India alongside Canada. “There’s a lot of interest in the world in what Australia is doing,” said Morrison. He called on Facebook to meet them. “Because you know what Australia is doing here, it will likely follow suit in the legislation of many other western states.”

Australian Treasury Secretary Josh Frydenberg has negotiated twice with CEO Mark Zuckerberg since Facebook’s media blockade began. “We’ll talk again over the weekend,” he tweeted. Facebook had previously stated that Australian law “misunderstood” the platform’s value to publishers. According to the draft, the tech companies should first sit down with the media houses to agree on payments. If this does not succeed, a mediator appointed by the government decides.

The role of the Internet network, which includes Instagram and Whatsapp, in spreading news has grown steadily in Australia. The ban on all media content had an immediate effect. According to data from analytics firm Chartbeat, Internet traffic on Australian news sites fell by 13 percent within the country and by 30 percent outside the country. The responsible for the region News Corp manager Michael Miller said, however, that the direct access of Australians to the Internet offers of his company has increased by a double-digit percentage.

On January 1, 2020, Austria introduced a digital tax through an increased advertising tax of five percent, which is aimed specifically at large international digital corporations such as Google and Facebook. The online advertising tax affects companies that have a worldwide turnover of more than 750 million euros, of which 25 million euros in Austria. The digital tax law stipulates that 15 million euros a year should flow from the tax revenue into the “financing of the digital transformation process of Austrian media companies”. The digital tax is justified with the significantly lower tax payments of the US giants compared to other companies. For a digital tax on a global level, which Austria advocates, there is no political support from the USA, for example.

(apa / reuters)

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