Google threatens to remove its search engine from Australia
On Friday, Google threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government went ahead with its plans to get tech giants to pay for news content.
The government’s mandatory code of conduct aims to make Google and Facebook pay Australian media companies fairly for using the news content they pull from news sites.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was quick to respond, saying, “We do not respond to threats.”
“Australia is setting its rules for things that can be done in Australia,” Morrison told reporters in Brisbane. This is done in our parliament. Our government is doing that. This is how things work here in Australia. “
Morrison spoke after Mel Silva, managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, said during a hypothetical appearance before the Senate on the bill that the new rules would be inapplicable.
“If this version of the code becomes law, we will have no choice but to stop making Google searches available in Australia,” Silva told senators. “That would be bad not only for us, but also for the Australian people, the diverse media and small businesses that use our products every day.”
Silva said Google was willing to pay a wide variety of news publishers for the value they added, but not under the proposed rules, which include payments for links and snippets.
He said that the “biased arbitrage model” of the code also poses uncontrollable financial and operational risks for Google. The Executive Director proposed a series of amendments to the bill. “We believe there is a good path to follow,” Silva said.
As in many other countries, Internet searches are dominated by Google in Australia. Silva told senators that about 95% of searches in the country are done through Google.