By Isaac Akugizibwe
KIU, Main Campus - Should Australia's move to make digital giants Facebook and Google pay for news content work out, you can be sure that other countries will want to start their own negotiations. The amended legislation passed by the Australian House of Representatives on Thursday, February 25th 2021 after earlier going through the Senate has attracted mixed reactions globally.
Australia could be an eye-opener to many other countries including African states who have many a time nursed wounds of fake news spread through Facebook and Google platforms. The question of whether they can be able to engage in such a titanic battle to convince tech giants to pay for news content only requires a test of time but once they learn from Australia’s process and manner of negotiation, it can be possible.
There are strong precedents and grounds upon which to base a winning argument by whichever country wishes to embrace the move. Australia had support not only from other governments which wanted to see Mark Zuckerberg's company taken down a peg but even from another tech firm that has previously been in regulators' sights itself according to BBC. Earlier this month, Microsoft came out in strong support of the new media law.
According to BBC’S technology correspondent Rory Cellan, Microsoft President, Brad Smith wrote: "The legislation will redress the economic imbalance between technology and journalism by mandating negotiations between these tech gatekeepers and independent news organizations.
Given that such deals have been widely viewed as a compromise by the tech giants’ weak economies are likely to find it hard to negotiate with them but once many countries stand up in solidarity with Australia, you can be sure that Tech giants like Facebook and Google will want to harmonize the situation by making it a policy to pay for news content shared on their platforms.
Such a move is likely to benefit traditional and commercial newspapers more than any other news agency and could help restore their lost glory whereas the end result seems likely to be that Facebook and Google will strike more deals around the world to pay money for news.