Wednesday, 02 September 2020 08:31

ACCC describes Facebook threat on media code as ill-timed Featured

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ACCC describes Facebook threat on media code as ill-timed Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has described Facebook's threat to prevent Australians from sharing local and international news on the site if the ACCC's draft code on news sharing become law as "ill-timed and misconceived".

ACCC chair Rod Sims said in a statement on Tuesday: "The draft media bargaining code aims to ensure Australian news businesses, including independent, community and regional media, can get a seat at the table for fair negotiations with Facebook and Google."

In its statement on Monday, Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director Will Easton said the new regulation "misunderstands the dynamics of the Internet and will do damage to the very news organisations the government is trying to protect".

The ACCC opened its draft code of conduct for digital platforms to negotiate with news organisations for comment until last Friday.

The government's intention is to have legislation bedded down before the end of the year. Google has already been campaigning publicly against any proposed legislation.

Sims said: "Facebook already pays some media for news content. The code simply aims to bring fairness and transparency to Facebook and Google’s relationships with Australian news media businesses.

"We note that according to the University of Canberra’s 2020 Digital News Report, 39% of Australians use Facebook for general news, and 49% use Facebook for news about COVID-19.

"As the ACCC and the government work to finalise the draft legislation, we hope all parties will engage in constructive discussions."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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