It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we are not in favour of the ACCC’s interference in the Australian news industry. The one-sided set of proposals disproportionately advantage large Media organisations and tries to hold Google and Facebook responsible for their lack of success in the modern web era.

Overnight Google announced the launch of their next phase of partnering with and supporting the media industry internationally. The new initiative allows partnered content providers to provide a far more curated feed of news in the Google News app.

Historically Google News builds the news feed using the news algorithm and content was built algorithmically. The new Showcase feed will allow complete editorial control of that outlets feed and what news is displayed in the app.

Google will also be working with publishers to bring new rich media experiences into the Google News app. Currently available or in development are features such as timelines, bullets and related articles, video, audio and daily briefings.

You may remember that originally Australia was going to be a launch market for the new Showcase alongside Germany and Brazil. Unfortunately, as a result of the ACCC’s instructions from the Federal Government to impose a mandatory regulation on the Media industry in Australia, namely the News media bargaining code, Google has withdrawn Australia from that launch.

In a statement to Ausdroid Mel Silva, Managing Director, Google Australia & New Zealand has said:

Australia was one of the first countries in the world where we signed agreements with publishers to participate in News Showcase and we were in discussions with many more.

As we’ve previously said, as we work to understand the impacts of the news media bargaining code on partnerships and products, we have put this project on pause for now. Although our concerns about the code are serious, we hope they can be resolved so we can bring News Showcase to Australia soon, as we believe the program will help publishers grow their audience and contribute towards the overall sustainability of our Australian news partners.

It is a shame that, from our perspective, what is a move by the large entrenched Australian media organisations to keep a death grip on the control of Australian news has resulted in both the removal of Australia from this program, but more importantly the creation of a code that is biased in multiple ways. We’re not suggesting that Google is some conglomeration of altruists, and we’re certainly not suggesting that about Facebook.

However, even if you remove Google from the discussion new news code is still fundamentally flawed and biased in it’s design. It only provides advantages to large organisations, like the entrenched media. At current feedback on the code is being considered by the ACCC, after which a new draft code will be released. At that point, Australia’s free and open media landscape may be preserved or plunged into a monopolistic protectionist hellish landscape. Best get ready to write to your elected officials I would think.

    13 Comments
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    Morgan
    Morgan
    13 days ago

    Yeah i really don’t understand how anyone can say Google is stealing anything, it’s not like papers are sold in sealed bags. I can see the same info on Google as I can at news agent. What concerns me is that other than here everything I’ve seen about this had portrayed it as fair and just, I mean their lust for a slice of Google’s money is almost palpable. And you want to talk about a corporations power? Murdoch has his hand so far up the liberals and half of Labor he brushes their teeth for them, it’s sad how… Read more »

    Daniel
    Daniel
    15 days ago

    The other thing that doesn’t make any sense to me is, if you click on a News Corp article via Google News it’s still pay-walled and inaccessible unless you’re a paying subscriber, so how exactly is News Corp being ripped off?

    Daniel
    Daniel
    15 days ago

    It’s insane that Murdoch and Nine are reportedly demanding Google and Facebook pay them $1 billion for the privilege of feeding us news. It’s not like Google and FB are copying and pasting unattributed content, passed off as their own. The logic of all this makes no sense.

    Moth
    Moth
    16 days ago

    I agree fundamentally with the views in this article. Over the years, Google News has through its stories, actually encouraged me to either subscribe to different News sites, or support them. This was only because I found myself drawn to more and more stories from Google News, from a particular News site. A large percentage of Australian media is already owned and controlled by a select few, and the Government we currently have appears to want to continue this. The death knell for Aussie digital media, in my opinion, can’t be blamed on Google but perhaps on the lack of… Read more »

    Andrew
    Andrew
    16 days ago

    I’m glad Ausdroid are taking a neutral stance and criticising what they find as wrong. Agree that the ACCC requiring the news sites the Google News algorithm will just lead to skewed results as they try to ‘game’ the system rather than produce quality news.

    Government should just get out of the way.

    Barry
    Barry
    Reply to  Andrew
    16 days ago

    As mentioned, big donors asking for favours. How it is viewed anything other than corrupt is beggars belief. They should call it Rupert’s Bill.

    Mark
    Mark
    16 days ago

    Can you please explain how the ACCC is protecting “large media” from facebook. google and utube. Where do they stop any other organisation from gathering their own SOURCE news rather than stealing some one else’s work, without paying for it but gaining revenue for stealing it. Mostly without attribution. Facebook, google & utube are the largest media organisations in the world – who is bigger ? They have an extreme amount of influence on people’s opinions. So much so that they are now worried about their influence on the American elections. Also, have a look at some of the video… Read more »

    Duncan Jaffrey
    Duncan
    Reply to  Mark
    16 days ago

    Again, our issue is with the specifics of the Australian regulation, it’s favouring or large Media organisations and it’s unwise overreach in scope. We have no issues with exploring a better relationship between search and social media organisations and the media industry. If we breakdown the 3 platforms, we’re no fan of Facebook having removed Ausdroid from the service, however we voluntarily put our content there to make it easier to discover, he shared and hopefully increase our engagement and ultimately ability to keep running. YouTube takes no content, everything’s there is uploaded intentionally by users. Unauthorised uploads aside how… Read more »

    Andrew
    Andrew
    Reply to  Duncan
    16 days ago

    Well said.

    Barry
    Barry
    16 days ago

    Another example of corrupt Australia.

    sunny
    sunny
    17 days ago

    I feel the writer of this has read the google press releases and not the ACCC press releases. The ACCC makes it clear to qualify as a new organisation, you have to have $150k in revenue. Which is something that ausdroid already has. SO, by proxy, you are, by your own definition, “big business” and “entrenched media”. I don’t see any quotes from the ACCC in this article, just saying. So, the ACCC laws are anti-trust laws. They’re to ensure one company doesn’t control too much unfairly. The fact that every Australia who visited google and youtube fore a month… Read more »

    Scott Plowman
    Ausdroid Editor
    Reply to  sunny
    17 days ago

    We most certainly do not make 150k per year. That’d be nice. You realise we are all volunteers right?