Sunday, February 21, 2021

Support FB and Google: The Absurdity of The News Media Bargaining Code



This is my take on the Australian News Media Bargaining Code. A piece of legislation so unbelievably absurd I cant believe it exists in 2021. It is disturbing that private news media companies are skewed and extremely biased in their coverage. Here is what wasnt reported:


  • Private News Companies lobbied the government to force facebook and google to pay them for having links to their websites. The idea of paying to post links is absurd - and breaks the basic functionality of the internet. No company/person should have to pay to link to another website. To make it even more absurd, FB is being made to pay for links it's users (not facebook) are sharing.
  • Media coverage of this issue has been unbelievably biased, and does not point out the basic fact above^.
  • Facebook/Google provide a free service in return for being able to provide targeted ads, which is very valuable. Traditional media is dying as advertisers are leaving them. In my opinion, if they could not adapt to an online world, they deserve to fail. This is the golden opportunity to break up the Murdoch Media Monopoly - which is a whole topic by itself.
  • Regarding the takedown of some government pages / emergency services: Using Facebook/Google is a privilege, not a right. The whole idea that a private company (FB/Google) must show your organization's website is absurd. If an emergency service relies on a free media platform run by a private company, it needs to take a hard look in the mirror.

Private News media companies are not reporting the simple reality that they have lobbied for a law that gets them paid for having links to their websites. Yup. Not the other way round. It is absurd.

What is the News Media Bargaining Code about?


  • Facebook/Google has to pay PRIVATE news companies (ABC is excluded btw).
  • ... by government mandated law in the private companies favour.
  • for sharing links. Not content. Links. FFS. This breaks the internet. It's not how the internet works. Nobody should be forced to pay for sharing links.
  • The private news media monopoly also will get access to the algorithm to give them an unfair advantage vs small and independant news sources.

Private news companies (Read: Murdoch's news empire.) are bleeding because they no longer can profit from ads that typically went into news papers. They failed to adapt to the online shift in media consumption,... and despite 4+ billion hits to their pages from Google, they are failing badly. They will die a natural death if they cannot adapt.

Now they want google to pay them for having links to their websites. And lobbied the government to do so.Facebook took a stand. Google caved. The reason is simple. Facebook's profits dont rely on sharing links to news sites

The private news companies think too highly of themselves – their news is simply not worth much to Facebook. In fact, I would argue facebook is a much nicer place without the news – stick to friends and family stuff. I dont mind seeing the occasional targeted ad (which has led me to some nice purchases and things I use every day). This in return for a place to share photos of my cat and dank memes. Im gonna go out and just say it: I like facebook.

At the end of the day:
1) Company ABCD should never have to pay company XYZ for sharing a link to company XYZ.
2) This fundamentally breaks the way the internet works. (free linking to different sites)
3) I hope google and facebook boycott australian private news companies and not get involved with australian news until this debacle of legislation is over.


Free Speech?
This has nothing to do with free speech. Private companies (google/facebook/tumblr/twitter) can decide to show or not show whatever they want. Even Donald Trump was banned from twitter. Free speech was never an issue then. Citizens still have the freedom of speaking on other platforms and in public without reprisal. Similarly, Murdoch's private media empire has the "freedom" to not report the simple fact that they lobbied the government to get paid for having their websites linked to. If you are upset about not being able to see news on facebook – go somewhere else.

Stealing Content?
No. There is no copyright infringement. Google simply posts links to these news organizations. In fact, google even gives the option of removing spiels and blurbs in search results (if you dont want users to see snippets of your site). If you want an example of this in action: google your favourite crustacean on PrawnHUB.

What's this private news monopoly you keep talking about?
Kevin Rudd talks about the news media bargaining code and the murdoch monopoly. He summarizes it nicely:

Further non-private media sources of information
My favourite youtuber from Sydney:
Economics Explained –

How does it affect actual independant small news outlets?
The media giants also want insights into the algorithm for what is essentially government mandated search result optimization. This removes the advantage that the internet inherently gives to small publishers and independant youtube creators – the type of people who need more exposure. Over time, this means search results are more likely going to be focused on private news media and their version of events. This strengthens their monopoly, and prevents startups from finding a voice.

How does this affect me? Why should I care?
Simple. Facebook will be showing you more ads. Advertisers will be charged more. You will pay more in the end as a consumer. Also, the murdoch media monopoly will be feeding you news that may not align with your interest, as independant/small news outlets will be suppressed. The private media monopoly will have access to Google's algorithm and essentially the best search engine optimization (SEO) which will make their news more visible by default.


Dont get me wrong, Im not an ardent FB/Google fanboy. I believe that:

1) FB/Google/Corporations in general should be un-dodgebly taxed on REVENUE to high heaven.... to support public broadcasters like the ABC/PBS and public news services. And for grants to small/indie/independant news producers.

2) Private old school news companies that fail to adapt to changing times should be allowed to fail. This is a golden opportunity to break up the Murdoch media empire, and for Gen Y and Z to take over with small lean startups.. This is the opportunity to create a vibrant media landscape of lots of small players with tons of potential due to the internet's scalability.

3) Despite all this drama, I still do believe private news companies are suitable investments for a portfolio – heck I own shares in them. Never sold for ages lol. Like all the other apes on r/asx_bets, If these companies die i'll sink with the ship. Sometimes you just gotta stand for ya principles. Never sell! I have DIAMOND HANDS.