In April of this year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) created a mandatory code of conduct that would require Google and Facebook to pay media companies for news. Large companies, like Google and Facebook, tend to resist having to share the money they make from the content that newspapers created.
According to The Guardian, Google has started targeting Australians with pop-up ads that link to an open letter that appears to be designed to scare people. Google doesn’t want a proposed law called the News Media Bargaining Code to go into effect.
Google’s Open Letter to Australians has a bright yellow caution sign at the top of it. Caution signs tend to make people nervous, wondering why a site had been flagged with that warning. In this case, Google intentionally put it there.
We need to let you know about new Government regulation that will hurt how Australians use Google Search and YouTube.
A proposed law, the News Media Bargaining Code, would force us to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube, could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses, and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia.
According to Google, the law would “force us to give an unfair advantage to one group of businesses – news media business – over everyone who has a website, YouTube channel or small business.” Google says “the proposed changes are not fair and they mean that Google Search results and YouTube will be worse for you”. Google also implies that they would have to hand user’s date over to news businesses, and that “your search data may be at risk”.
The Guardian reported that Chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims, said Google’s letter “contains misinformation” about how the code connected to the law works. He also said, “Google would not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube, unless it chooses to do so. Google would not be required to share any additional user data with Australian news businesses unless it chooses to do so.”