Google threatens to withdraw search engine from Australia over new regulation

*Google kicks by contending if this version of the Code were to become law, it would give the company ‘no real choice’ but to stop making Google Search available in Australia, as the law would require it pays to present links and snippets of news articles

*We don’t respond to threats; Australia makes our rules for things you can do in here, replies Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Google says it would have “no real choice” but to pull its search engine from Australia if a proposed law requiring the company to pay news publishers for content goes into effect.

Google Australia and New Zealand VP Mel Silva said the company’s primary concern is that the law “would require payments simply for links and snippets just to news results in Search,” agency report said.

Silva told Australia’s Senate Economics Legislation Committee Friday, January 22, 2021, that “the free service we offer Australian users, and our business model, has been built on the ability to link freely between Web sites.

“If this version of the Code were to become law it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia.”

The Google chief stated: “We have had to conclude after looking at the legislation in detail we do not see a way, with the financial and operational risks, that we could continue to offer a service in Australia.”

In response, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in a swift statement issued at a press conference in Brisbane, said: “We don’t respond to threats.

“Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia,” Morrison said at a press conference in Brisbane.

“That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government. And that’s how things work here in Australia.”

The bill, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, would make Google and Facebook pay Australian media companies for using news content they pull from news sites.

The law was introduced into Parliament in December 2020 to “ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public interest journalism in Australia.”

However, Google Australia and New Zealand VP noted Google is not on board with the law as it stands.

Specifically, the company does not want to pay for links and snippets it surfaces in response to users’ queries.

Silva suggested that the bill be revised, saying Google feels there is “a workable path forward.”

She stated: “There is a way forward that allows Google to pay publishers for value, without breaking Google Search and our business in Australia.”

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