FEBRUARY 23, 202111:27 AM
UPDATED 31 MINUTES AGO
Australia closer to passing watershed Google, Facebook laws
2 MIN READ
CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia’s lawmakers on Tuesday inched closer to passing landmark laws that would force Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay news outlets for content and could set a precedent for tighter regulation in other nations.
The country is on course to become the first to introduce laws that challenge big technology firms’ dominance in the news content market, with Canada and Britain considering similar moves.
Under a global spotlight, Australian senators resumed debating the proposal already endorsed by the parliament’s lower house.
The government does not have a majority in the Senate, though the country’s opposition Labor party has said it will support the legislation despite loud protests from the tech giants.
Facebook has taken the most hardline approach amid concerns about the global precedent such laws might set for other jurisdictions.
The social media giant last week blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts.
In contrast, Google has signed a series of content deals with Australian media companies.
Australia, however, has vowed no further amendments will be made and the legislation is expected to be endorsed by the country’s Senate on Tuesday.
Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Regulators are preparing to target Facebook over Australia ban, antitrust issues
by CHRISTOPHER WHITE Sinclair Broadcast Group Tuesday, February 23rd 2021
WASHINGTON (SBG) — Congressional regulators are gearing up to put Facebook’s business model under the microscope after the social media giant banned Australian citizens and other users from gaining access to news content produced by Australian publishers.
Facebook’s decision last Wednesday to restrict access to the country’s publishers came a day before House Democrats announced new congressional hearings and investigations into the company’s alleged anti-competitive behavior.
Leeza Garber, an attorney who specializes in cybersecurity and privacy law, said in an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group recently that the decision will only enflame U.S. regulators.
“Regulation is coming for these social media giants, these tech giants. Not only in Australia, but Canada is considering a similar law. The E-U is considering a similar law,” said Garber, who teaches at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania as a part-time lecturer on internet law.
She also suggested Facebook should expect a battle from the Biden administration and congressional Democrats.
“Biden has said he’s coming for these tech giants. Pelosi has said she is coming for them,” Garber added.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been scrutinizing Facebook’s corporate power over the last year.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.H., led a 16-month investigation into Facebook, Amazon how they compete in the tech world. Cicilline is the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ powerful subcommittee on antitrust, commercial and administrative law.
In a tweet Wednesday, Cicilline called Facebook’s decisions “the ultimate admission of monopoly power.”