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Google doesn’t want to pay for news, so it’s using scare tactics to actively mislead users

What's New in Publishing 18 Aug 2020 07:00

If you went to use Google yesterday, you may have been met with a pop-up, warning that the tech giant’s functionality was “at risk” from new Australian government regulation.

Google Australia’s managing director, Mel Silva, wrote an open letter in response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) News Media Bargaining Code, which would require Google (and Facebook) to negotiate “fair payment” for Australian news content published on their services.

The letter, pinned to the Google homepage, claims the code would force Google “to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube”. The ACCC has already labelled several of the letter’s statements as “misinformation”.

It seems Google isn’t keen to set a global precedent by paying Australian news outlets for their content. Google claims the ACCC’s proposed code is disastrous, for a variety of reasons.

Its letter is part of a campaign designed to scare Australian web users. Don’t fall for it.

Hordes of people took to social media to express dismay and confusion about the unexpected prompt. Screenshot

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