Yellow warning signs have unexpectedly appeared online almost everywhere, and they have been accused by Google of using them as intimidation.
Google should stop using its vast platform to threaten Australians and begin paying for their journalism to media companies, an open letter about the digital giant ‘s response to a proposed mandatory news code state.
Josh Frydenberg, The Federal Treasurer, ordered the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to create a reciprocal code between media outlets and Google and Facebook to preserve journalism but the platforms resist the change.
The Center for Responsible Technology at the Australia Institute, an independent thinktank which put the letter, said the recent open letter from Google and yellow warning signs were bullying on the website of the search engine.
This week, Google launched an international scare campaign alleging that access to Google Search and YouTube by the Australian public “would be affected by new regulations.”
YouTube producers and users were also asked by the internet giant to shower the competition watchdog with questions about the news code.
“And now it’s time to honour us,” says the responsible development centre in Thursday’s open letter in the Sydney Morning Herald. “You use your power to bully us as one of the largest companies on earth. You threaten to charge us for your search engine if we ask you to consider charging a reasonable sum for the journalism from which you are benefiting.”
It continues: “You’ve abused your knowledge of our personal desires and habits to divert advertisers from mainstream media, weakening the business model that has been funding independent journalism for over 150 years.
“More than 5,000 Australian journalists have lost their employment over the past decade, as their share of advertising has expanded and increased.
“You were also able to use articles written by those journalists as if they were your own work, deriving meaning from something that isn’t yours.
Despite Google claiming that Australian services were “at risk,” Mr Sims said that under the proposed news bargaining code, the tech giant would not be “required to charge Australians for using its free services.”
A Google spokesman seemed to rule out charging users today, instead claiming that the code would “harm our products and user experience seriously.”
“We have no intention of charging consumers for our free services,” he said. “What we did suggest is that in Australia, Search and YouTube are both free utilities at risk. That’s because the code is unworkable as it is drafted.’
He said Google was worried that registered news outlets would need to provide advance notice of changes impacting their content and share details about how users interacted with news articles.
“That goes beyond Google’s current level of data-sharing with news publishers,” he said.