Google has threatened to pull its search engine out of Australia, a country with more than 20 million internet users, if the government enforces a law requiring tech platforms to pay news publishers to display news in search results.
“If this version of the [media] If the Code were to become law, we would have no choice but to make Google search unavailable in Australia, ”Melanie Silva, Google’s Vice President for Australia and New Zealand, told the Senate Economic Affairs Committee on Friday. reported to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The statement came shortly after Facebook, which appeared at the Senate hearing with Google, asked the country for a six-month grace period to allow it to do business directly with news outlets before becoming subject to the Code.
Google and Facebook have been negotiating the code with the Australian government since December 2019. The country has long sought to be the first to force the two technology platforms that suck up most of the world’s digital revenue to pay to display content from news publishers who have been hit directly as a result. The move could have an impact worldwide, including the United States.
Hours before Silva’s statements, Google agreed to pay news publications in France to display content. In Australia, however, the company argued that requiring platforms to pay for links violated a fundamental principle of the internet – the ability of websites to link freely with one another.
“Just as you don’t pay to include a hyperlink in an email, websites and search engines don’t pay to provide links to third-party websites,” Google wrote in a blog post. “It would be like the phone directory had to pay companies to include them – it just doesn’t make any sense.”
In response to Silva’s remarks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to resign. “We don’t respond to threats,” he told reporters in Brisbane. “Australia sets our rules for things you can do in Australia. We did that in our Parliament. It is done by our government. And that’s how it goes here in Australia. “