Australia could force Facebook and Google to pay for media content displayed on its social media platforms through a new Act to be introduced to the Australian Parliament on Wednesday (12/09/2020).

The rule will be the first in the world to force social media giants to pay into the media when they host content. The new media law will apply to Facebook’s “News Feed” and Google search.

Australian Finance Minister Josh Frydenberg said the new rules, which were first introduced last July, would be introduced to parliament Wednesday and expected to come into force next year.

“It’s a big reform. It’s the first in the world and the world is witnessing what’s happening here in Australia,” he said.

The Australian government itself has decided to exclude other popular platforms such as YouTube and Instagram from the rule.

Frydenberg said the tech giant will now be required to notify media companies that changes to algorithms will have a “significant impact” on search rankings, within 14 days.

Frydenberg said the two sides would still be encouraged to reach a commercial agreement but if that failed they would be sent to arbitration.

The initiative has been closely watched around the world, as news media around the world have suffered due to a growing digital economy in which advertising revenue is very much captured by big tech companies.

Social media that makes content unable to get ad revenue on social media platforms is appropriate for news or content displayed on Facebook and Google.

Facebook has warned it could block users and media organizations in Australia from sharing news if the law is enacted.

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