Google, Facebook to pay news publishers for using digital content

Google and Facebook are currently under pressure to pay for the content they report or show on their platforms. Google argues that it sells ads and not content. On the other hand, Facebook has responded to the pressure to pay for news content by switching off content display on its website, according to BBC News.

The issue

For decades, tech giants like Google and Facebook have freely distributed publishers’ and content creators’ content without paying for it. Both companies, including Apple, Inc., are charging content creators and publishers for content displayed on their platforms. However, as the demand for digital content continues to rise, tech companies are under pressure to pay for contents. Some business-experts believe that it is fair for Google and Facebook alongside their fellow tech giants to pay publishers for quality news. The key argument has been that added value journalism is extremely expensive. This means that if Google and Facebook continue to use content for free, publishers and content creators will be at the risk of disappearing or devaluation. Sharing revenues with content posters will help publishers to monetize their contents.

A financial technology entrepreneur, Dr. Richard Smith, noted that “Content creators have done so much for Google. Unfortunately, they are apparently in danger of extinction. If Google doesn’t do a better job of sharing the gains from its technology with the actual content creators, the risk may be great.”

Facebook and Google’s Response to Rising Pressure to Pay Publishers and Content Creators

Google and Facebook’s often use digital contents without paying. The free use has been a concern for both media houses and policymakers. In April 2020, French Competition Authority ordered Google to negotiate with news publishers and content creators. The regulation came in response to publishers’ demand for shared revenues with Google. Google has received similar requests from the Spanish, Indian, and Australian lawmakers. However, the company has attacked such proposals and, reportedly declined to pay content creators. Google argued that tts Search and YouTube services could be compromised if new rules are brought through.

Earlier in 2019, the Spanish government imposed a mandatory policy that required Google to pay content publishers. In retaliation, Google moved ahead to stop its news services (Google News) from running in Spain. In a statement released in the late 2019, Google said

We [Google] sell ads, not search results, and every ad on Google is clearly marked. That’s also why we don’t pay publishers when people click on their links in a search result.”

As reported by BBC News

Facebook has also responded in a similar manner. The social media leader blocked Australian users from viewing or sharing news content on its platform. The action was due to a law the Australian policymakers passed in which they required Facebook to pay for news content. The Australians have strongly criticized the social media company. The government termed the action “a misuse of the immense market power of these digital social giants.” Google, however, has said it’s working on a global licensing program that will allow it to pay publishers and media houses for high quality content.

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