Australia calls out Google for 'experiment' blocking some news sites

17 Janvier, 2021, 08:12 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Australia calls out Google for experiment blocking some news sites

Google is under fire for blocking some Australian news sites from search results as part of an experiment.

The incident is the latest in an ongoing battle between Google and the Australian government, which is now considering a proposal that would force tech firms such as Google and Facebook to pay local news providers for their content.

Unfortunately, there are no more updates if Google only runs the experiment exclusively after the Australian government implemented the news media bargaining code, or if there are any more trials planned, or if Google did inform the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission of its plan.

What is making people upset down under is that users were not informed of the change, or advised how to find news articles when searching, with some reporting they initially believed it was an issue only affecting them.

Google insists the move was just one of "thousands of experiments" it runs ever year.

But those in the know should not be overly surprised at the development.

Shortly after the law was proposed early a year ago, Google added a notice to its site warning "the way Aussies search every day on Google is at risk".

This applies to Facebook's "news feed" and Google searches, which are the two richest and most powerful companies in the world.

"At the same time, Google are now demonstrating how easily they can make Australian news providers who fall out of their favour effectively disappear from the internet - a chilling illustration of their extraordinary market power", Nina, the publisher of the Australian Financial Review, the Age, and the Sydney Morning Herald, says in a statement.

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It comes after Google in June 2020 announced the "News Showcase" scheme, which would see news publishers in Australia, Brazil, and Germany starting to be compensated for the news they produce.

Facebook previously threatened to ban Australian users from sharing news content over the plan.

"The digital giants should focus on paying for original content, not blocking it", Frydenberg told reporters, referring to Google and social media behemoth Facebook Inc. "That's my message to those digital giants", Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the BBC.

"The digital giants should focus on paying for original content, not blocking it", Frydenberg said at a press conference.

"This conduct by Google ..."

The treasurer added that the country's parliament was considering a new code that would tackle the bargaining power imbalance between news media and digital platforms.

Some will feel there is little doubt that Google's "experiment" is a warning shot to Australian authorities on the matter.

Google denied providing a detailed list of the news outlets affected.

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