To say the Australian government is beholden to certain media companies is a massive understatement. It should not come as a surprise to anyone then that the government has decided to do the bidding of said news companies and force Facebook and Google to remunerate them for using their content.

Australia’s treasurer, Josh Frydenburg, has instructed the ACCC to develop a code of conduct for digital platforms such as Google and Facebook. The code of conduct will be mandatory and has been brought on by a massive decrease in online advertising with the news corporations.

The new code will require digital platforms to negotiate “in good faith” on how to pay news media for use of their content, to advise said companies on algorithm changes that would affect content ratings in advance of any changes occurring, to favour original sources in page search results and to share data with these media companies.

The code was actually meant to be finalised in November this year but after negotiations led nowhere the government has asked the ACCC to step in. The new code will be mandatory instead of the originally proposed voluntary adherence and will include penalties and dispute mechanisms for negotiations between the two parties. The code also defines just what news content would be covered by the code and will include not just Google Search and Facebook but also Instagram and Twitter.

Mr Frydenburg has said that it is “only fair” that companies that created the content got paid for it in a bid to create a level playing field. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has more to say:

Digital platforms have fundamentally changed the way that media content is produced, distributed and consumed.

Digital platforms need to do more to improve the transparency of their operations for news media providers as they have a significant impact on the capacity of news media organisations to build and maintain an audience and derive resources from the media content they produce.

With many of Australia’s regional news papers having closed down during the COVID-19 pandemic this may help some of them stay open in the future but remember that a majority of Australia’s media is owned by a single entity — an entity that is still doing alright. We rely on a lot of this media to keep us informed on local issues

How this affects Ausdroid, I suspect we will all be getting Ferraris in our Christmas stockings this year with bonus yachts for editors of course. There does need to be a shift in how companies are remunerated for their content but with that there should also be checks and balances on said content being accurate and factually correct.

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Brad Young

Probably the truth is that media outlets need to stop seeing what they do as unique. It is news(although very often just opinions). Seek more money from advertisers as you don’t own the news you are publishing, just your opinion

Brad Young

To be fair, this site mostly regurgitates other site’s stories as do most sites

Brad Young

Then these said news services should have to pay us for viewing their bias described as news.


I only read this article as it was on my Google feed.

Phillip Malone

You mention that this will help small publications and possibly Ausdroid. I would say looking what happened in Spain, this would be more likely hurt those publications and will hurt Ausdroid. In fact, it will especially hurt a publication like Ausdroid. I know you put an Aussie spin on the tech news but most of the same news you cover is covered by a 1000 if not 10s of thousands of publications. If Google follow the same play book as they did in Spain, if Australia put in place a link tax they will just remove Australian publications from Google… Read more »


totally agree, in the age of the internet, media outlets are no longer competing with others in the state/region, but the world. i can easily get my news from at least a dozen or so other reputable sources. google scraping publicly available snippets and consolidating them within has only served to direct me to the source to read the full article. this is an article i would not have read, nor would the site have registered a click, had google not surfaced it in the first place. should google decide not to pay and just surface news articles from… Read more »

John Bennett

Absolute 100% spot on.


They just block all content from News Corp et al
nothing to pay for if it can’t be seen at all

Commercial suicide by the media

fred nerk

So basically a good outcome 🙂

Darren White

The government in Spain tried this and Google stepped away from Spain altogether. The revenue of the news outlets plunged. They ask google to come back


Interesting, I suppose if Google has to pay for news articles, then news stations in retaliation from Google might then have to pay Google for its services down the line? for example just about all of us ( including government services) happily use Google’s mapping and location services willy nilly for free that probably cost Google billions upon billions to get working. Or we the Android users will have to pay in some way. What is that saying about every action has an opposite reaction? It’s a bit like truck driving,, if you are the poor truck driver, government is… Read more »


*will try to force

there i fixed the headline for you 😉