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Google Labels Australia's News Media Bargaining Code As 'unfair'

google aug17 lt

Google has warned its users in Australia that new government regulation would force it to provide customers with a "dramatically worse" Google Search and YouTube.

According to the search giant, the proposed law, the News Media Bargaining Code, could lead to Google users' data being handed over to big news businesses and would also put the free services availed by its users at risk in Australia.

The News Media Bargaining Code was introduced in Australia as a draft bill last month. The new law would require tech giants like Google and Facebook to share their ad revenue with local media business whose content their platforms monetize.

In an open letter to Australians, Google Australia Managing Director Mel Silva said that the law would force Google to give unfair advantage to one group of businesses, news media businesses, over everyone else who has a website, YouTube channel or small business.

"News media businesses alone would be given information that would help them artificially inflate their ranking over everyone else, even when someone else provides a better result," Silva said.

However, Australia's consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC, responded by saying that Google's open letter contained "misinformation" about the draft media law.

The ACCC noted that Google will not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube, or share any additional user data with Australian news businesses unless it chooses to do so.

"The draft code will allow Australian news businesses to negotiate for fair payment for their journalists' work that is included on Google services. This will address a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and Google and Facebook," the consumer watchdog added.

The ACCC said it will continue to consult on the draft code with interested parties, including Google. The consultation period will close on August 28.

In late July, the ACCC had filed a suit against Google for allegedly misleading Australian consumers by collecting their personal data without their consent, mainly for targeted advertising.

The ACCC also alleged that Google misled consumers about a related change to its privacy policy.

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