Google threatens to stop its Search engine in Australia, govt responds

In a dramatic series of events, American tech giant Google has decided to pull its Search engine from Australia if Google is asked to pay local news publishers for their content.  

Mel Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia and New Zealand appeared before a public hearing of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee that is reviewing a proposed new law called the News Media Bargaining Code. 

“We don’t respond to threats”

In response, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “We don’t respond to threats,”.  

“Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our parliament. It’s done by our government. And that’s how things work here in Australia.”

Reiterating Google’s stance, Silva said that if the code became law, it would hurt not just Google, but small publishers, small businesses, and the millions of Australians that use our services every day. 

“Coupled with the unmanageable financial and operational risk if this version of the Code were to become law it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia,” Silva told the panel.

Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the entity responsible for drafting the law, suggested last year that this shouldn’t affect Google’s search business.

“Google will not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube unless it chooses to do so,” the ACCC had said.

Et tu Facebook

It’s just not Google that’s under the radar. The proposed News Media Bargaining Code law is currently in the draft also targets Facebook 

Citing this new draft, Facebook has also threatened to block its news from being shared in Australia.

Silva told the committee that withdrawing our services from Australia is the last thing that “I or Google want to have happened – especially when there is another way forward”. 

– with inputs from IANS.

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