New Zealand is the latest country to suggest that online platforms like Google and Facebook should pay to have news on their sites.
- In response to accusations that free access to news unfairly benefits online platforms, New Zealand may require companies like Alphabet and Meta to pay for news.
- Australia has already passed a similar law and Canada is currently debating one.
- Google and Facebook can reach their own agreements with news sites, but if no agreement is reached, government intervention may resolve the disagreement.
- “It’s not fair that the big digital platforms like Google and Meta get to host and share local news for free. It costs to produce the news, and it’s only fair they pay,” New Zealand Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson says.
- When a similar law was debated in Australia, Facebook blocked all news on the platform inside the country, and it has stated plans to do the same thing in Canada.
Why it’s news
Some news outlets have complained that the current model of news distribution on digital platforms makes it difficult for smaller publications to promote their content. In their view, the online platforms benefit from the news content as it increases their overall traffic.
Smaller publishers may have more difficulty negotiating a deal with Facebook or Google that would allow their content to be promoted. Tech giants Facebook and Google have argued that the news publishers are benefited by their links being shared and more traffic coming to their websites, The Wall Street Journal reports.
In some cases, the digital platforms have already reached agreements with local news publishers before legislation was introduced. Facebook already has agreements with three publications in New Zealand and has said that it is supporting journalism in the country.
Despite the existing agreements, some publications are still hoping to see the legislation pass. NZME, a New Zealand media company, has an existing agreement with Google and Facebook, but has said that it supports the legislation.
The legislation is similar to a law passed in Australia last year. So far, Australian officials say the law has been successful, and many outlets have come to voluntary agreements with online platforms.
Current legislation up for debate in Canada goes a little further than Australia’s regulation. Google has expressed concern over the law, claiming that it is too broad and will protect outlets that do not follow journalistic standards.