Threatened by Australian media coverage, Google addresses its users

While Australia wants to force tech giants to pay the media for their content, Google contrasted Monday by addressing the public via an open letter. The US group claims that the Australian bill would pose a risk to its services and to users’ personal data.

Google strikes back and addresses the public to condemn an ​​Australian bill aimed at limiting the media’s salary for their content. The search engine, which is said to be one of the main victims of the project, published an open letter on Monday 17 August, in which he claimed that the text would pose a risk to its services and users’ personal data.

At the end of July, Australia unveiled this draft “binding code of conduct” that would regulate the relationship between the media in major economic difficulties and the giants that dominate the Internet, mainly among them Google and Facebook.

In addition to the obligation to pay in exchange for content, the code deals with issues such as access to user data, the transparency of algorithms and the order in which the content is displayed in information flows for platforms and the results of research. Penalties of up to several million euros are provided for.

Google, which opposes this initiative, which was revealed after 18 months of negotiations failing to merge the two camps, retaliated on Monday through an “open letter to the Australians”, which appears on the side of its engine research.

Google quits media

“The way Australians do research every day is at risk,” read the open letter, which claimed that the bill “could lead to your data being passed on to major media groups.”

“The law would require us to give a group of companies – the media companies – an unfair advantage over anyone who owns a website, a YouTube channel or a small business,” says Google.

“Media companies would get information that allows them to constantly inflate their rankings (in searches), even when others are a better result.”

Google warns against the use of data

Google notes that its mission is to protect users’ data.

“This law will force Google to tell the media” how they can access “data about how you use our products,” said the US giant. “There is no indication as to whether the data transmitted will be protected or how it can be used by media companies.”

Google also notes that it already has partnerships with Australian media.

“But rather than encouraging these types of partnerships, the law will give media companies special treatment and encourage them to make huge and unreasonable requests that will jeopardize our free service,” the letter continued.

The Australian initiative is closely followed around the world at a time when the media is suffering in a digital economy where advertising revenue is increasingly captured by Facebook, Google and other major technology companies.

The media crisis has been exacerbated by the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus. In Australia, dozens of newspapers have been shut down and hundreds of journalists fired in recent months.

With AFP