Internet giants are about to face more government oversight in Australia. The country has ordered its Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to create a mandatory code of conduct that would ask Facebook, Google and others to pay news outlets when they use its content. The code would also dictate data sharing, news ranking and revenue sharing. There will be penalties if companies don’t follow through, as well as a binding resolution process for any disputes.
Officials had been negotiating a voluntary code, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden hit to ad revenue prompted the shift to a mandatory system. The ACCC also said that it was “unlikely” tech companies would come to a voluntary agreement on payments. Government treasurer Josh Frydenberg, meanwhile, argued that it was “only fair” that news outlets got paid for the work they were creating.