Ministers must follow Australia by making Facebook and Google pay for UK news media content to prevent the ‘death of the industry’, ex-Culture Committee chair Damian Collins says
- Australia putting in place system for social media firms to pay for news content
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Facebook and Google should be made to pay for news content generated by the UK media to avoid the ‘death of the industry’, ministers were told today.
Tory MPs are urging the government to follow the example of Australia, where new rules are being brought in to help prop up publications amid coronavirus turmoil.
News organisations have been hammered by plummeting ad revenues and falling sales after the country went into lockdown to
A slew of titles have already folded or furloughed large numbers of staff.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is fast-tracking a mandatory code that will include enforcement, penalties and ways to deal with disagreements between the global platforms and local media companies.
Prices for content or the nature of commercial agreements would need to be negotiated but remedies would be put in place to force tech companies to fall into line.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is fast-tracking a mandatory code that will include enforcement, penalties and ways to deal with disagreements between global platforms such as Google and local media companies (file picture)
Australian finance minister Josh Frydenberg said: ‘As the technology of the digital platforms has evolved, so too has their market dominance.
‘By creating a mandatory code, we’re seeking to be the first country in the world that successfully requires these social media giants to pay for original news content.’
Tory MP and former Culture Committee chair Damian Collins told MailOnline the Australian plan was a ‘very good one’ and should be emulated here.
‘I think the approach taken by the Australian government is something that would should think about following,’ he said.
Tory MP and former Culture Committee chair Damian Collins told MailOnline the Australian plan was a ‘very good one’ and should be emulated here
‘I think there does need to be a level playing field for news companies dealing with social media platforms.
‘I think the idea of having some pricing structure that is fixed, that news companies are given more notice and are consulted on changes to the social media algorithm, because that can affect their business.
‘And I think data sharing too. The news companies don’t get any data back from the tech companies about their content that is shared on the platform.
‘That data is obviously incredibly valuable in understanding customer behaviour.’
Mr Collins said there had been too much delay on moves to support the media, pointing to recommendations in last year’s Cairncross review on public funding and tax reliefs.
He said it was ‘critical’ to get action before it is too late.
‘We have seen any kind of advertising-funded news organisation is under massive pressure,’ Mr Collins said.
‘The current economic shutdown caused by coronavirus has just accelerated that and has obviously forced titles out of print.
‘That could get a lot worse. If we don’t fix this it could be the death of the news industry in many parts of the country, certainly at the regional end. And it will massively affect national titles as well.
‘We need to do more faster on this. We have been talking about all of these issues around safeguarding the news industry in the digital age, combating disinformation, combating harmful content… we need to start doing things not just debating.’
Digital giants such as Facebook will be forced to pay for news content generated by the Australian media in a lifeline for the struggling industry (file picture)