> Mr Sims said if Google took a similar approach to its actions in Spain when it was asked to pay for news on its Google News tab, it would be irrelevant because the code covered news content in Google's primary function, search.
So it seems like the ultimatum is: pay Australia media companies ~$1b or don't list any news media (including international news) on Google Search for Australian users. Interesting dilemma.
> pay Australia media companies ~$1b
This is Rupert Murdoch, isn't it.
> Media companies including News Corp Australia, a unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NWSA.O), lobbied hard for the government to force the U.S. companies to the negotiating table amid a long decline in advertising revenue.
Not so easy, since if you do that, you've just given an opening to a competitor that people will start using when they want to search for a news article.
Maybe, but Google's interest is in maintaining its search monopoly, not creating opportunities for its destruction in fits of pique.
I'm also skeptical about how much of a hurdle this would actually be, since businesses typically have to pay suppliers (e.g. by licensing content). These rules probably only seems like a big thing because SV tech businesses have been weirdly allowed to opt out of paying in situations like this for a long time. It's not like the necessity of paying royalties prevented Netflix from taking off.
"Fits of pique" like being extorted for $1 billion dollars per year? That's something like 4% of their global profit that they're being asked to fork over for the privilege of continuing to provide a just one search functionality in a small and isolated market. They'll just disable news searches in Australia lol.
Seems cheaper and more fruitful than simply forking over $1B. Then again, the risk to doing so might be scarier than a billion-dollar fine, especially if you factor in that the move (if discovered) would piss off legislators.
If this is being done on purpose to make a case, it's a goddamn genius move - next level chess.
Google could be in a tight spot.
"You say we are unfairly dominating? Fine we'll leave and let competitors take our place." Not competing at all in a market (barring reciprocial cartel territory divisuon) is the exact opposite of anti-competive behavior. They aren't even existing there to harm them!
At worst it would be monosopy and again they provided the remedy, reducing their "buying share" of the market to 0%.
It is essentially the ultimate calling of a bluff by not sticking around to be their scapegoat.
The searches don't need to convert themselves in order to be valuable; if they affect user behavior enough, they'll affect it for commercial queries too. Ie, if someone switches to Bing because they never get good results on Google, they'll probably just switch to Bing period, instead of jumping back to Google for their commercial queries.
Some relevant things to consider:
1) The Australian market provides Google about ~$5B/yr in revenue, so a 20% revenue loss would be required
2) The global PR impact of disabling news searches, even in a local market
3) The future costs of setting the precedent of giving in to rent-seeking mafia tactics from a specific government; if they think it's likely to embolden other governments to do the same thing, it may be worth drawing a bright line despite the revenue costs
Aka: show and pay News Corp or GTFO out of Australia. Sad.
Sent from my faulty HFC NBN (gone down 4 times in the last 2 days)
Called out by name as the only two companies the law applies to.
However, that is just complete speculation as I haven't seen the actual law, and the afr.com article is behind paywall for me.
Australian news media: No, come back!
I don't see how their demand work out well for them.
All of these countries need to unify on this requirement at the same time. Google can cut Australia off, but can they cut off Australia, France, and Spain off? What about Australia and the entire European Union?
Every single year, Google's ad business shifts more revenue from the "shares with third party sites" segment over to the "keeps all of it" segment. So while Google Search used to heavily fund news, every year, Google's cut gets bigger, and news orgs' cut gets smaller.
The second graph here is what was shown in the hearing, and shows the numbers pulled from Alphabet's reports: https://medium.com/beyond-devices/googles-increasing-relianc... "Google Network Members" effectively refers to website owners like news publishers which display ads.
I don't think that's a fair characterization. Would you say that Ford bled blacksmiths and carriage makers dry? Technology moves on. Newspapers are dying because their business model blows in the current infoscape. People spend most of their attention on things other than news, and news is the ultimate information commodity.
> Every single year, Google's ad business shifts more revenue from the "shares with third party sites" segment over to the "keeps all of it" segment.
The linked article shows that the "keeps all of it" portion has been growing faster than the "shares with third party sites" portion. I don't think it's fair to say that they shift revenue from one to the other.
> So while Google Search used to heavily fund news, every year, Google's cut gets bigger, and news orgs' cut gets smaller.
This is not shown by the data in the linked article. Clicks and CPC are slightly down for "shares with third party sites" but that does not say anything about news sites in particular.
Do you have a link to the graph? My understanding was that Google's original business model was "provide a search engine, and show ads on it", and showing ads on third-party sites is newer?
(Disclosure: I work at Google, speaking only for myself)
This explains why journalism is running out of money while Google is worth over a trillion. By lifting their content and keeping users (and ad views) directly on Google, Google profits at content producers' expense.
Re: "originally", I was probably wrong there. DoubleClick in 2008 was where Google absorbed this side of the ad business, I believe. But it was the side that was fundamental to journalism.
There was a time when Google could argue it's ad platforms was sponsoring the free web and all, but that's increasingly no longer the case.
They are losing money not because of Google, but because they are in a Twitter echo chamber feeding off each other and aliening large parts of their audience
How would that be different than 1 country at a time?
If Google refused to list news that they had to pay to list... across the board... Seems like it's simply making the process easier for Google as it'll be a one time fight.
Brexit seems to have less repercussions than initially thought because it hasn't happened yet! The UK is still in the single market and the customs union till end end of the year.
There are still agreements. Let's see in 2021. The question if the UK requires quarantine of its tourists coming back from Spain will be overshadowed by the question if the tourists get there in the first place.
> you have Germany strong arming France into giving weak nations billions
Rather the other way around.
Block it by a paywall. But they wouldn't do that because they would stop showing up in search engines. Google is providing a free service by directing traffic to these companies.
Reminds me of the LinkedIn case about bots crawling their website.
We've been through this in Germany. Publishers demanded to be paid for Google usage of results and news snippets. Google thankfully didn't give in to such a ridiculous demand and gave publishers the option to de-index them or keep listing them for free. Obviously all of them opted for the latter.
For google this will be a pure economics game, and when they passed the other laws Google looked at the numbers and noped out.
The same will be true for Australia.
I do not see the UK, US, or any of the emerging economies pulling this, so the EU and Australia will alone in this battle and the amount of money being demanded it seems to me most likely exceeds google profit, so they will just end the service to the nations, and blacklist the sites from search
Search will be fine because 3rd party sites will be indexed so it will be a 2 hope, and given the incestuous nature of "news" today where every story is written more or less than same on 100+ sites all over the globe I am sure people will find the news they are looking for just fine with out those sites in the index
The Eu and Australia are massively overplaying their hand
They can unite and tantrum all they want but it won't change the underlying reality any more than fervent demands for a "good people only" backdoor encryption won't exist.
They want google to pay for re-hosting /lifting any content (previews, headlines, etc.). Linking is just caught in the crossfire, if it's even mentioned.
If we are being honest, the majority of people read headlines and don't bother with more than the first paragraph or summary of the article. This is all displayed on Google properties where users don't even leave the Google infrastructure.
Is Google providing a service? Definitely. Does online news depend on Google? Definitely. Is Google's relationship with them abusive? Definitely.
That's odd, usually companies pay Google to host their content via GCP
There's something interesting in there that nobody in this discussion has yet mentioned, nor does the original news article, section 52S:
Subsection (2) applies if the registered news
business corporation for the registered news
business makes a request, in writing, to the
responsible digital platform corporation for
the digital platform service to do any of the
(a) ensure that the registered news business
corporation is provided with flexible
content moderation tools that allow
the registered news business corporation
to remove or filter comments on the registered
news business’ covered news content that:
(i) are made using the digital platform service; and
(ii) are made on a part of the digital platform
service that is set up and able to be edited
by the registered news business;
(b) ensure that the registered news business
corporation can disable the making of such
(c) ensure that the registered news business
corporation can block the making of such comments:
(i) by particular persons; or
(ii) in particular circumstances.
So if the newspaper leans X, they can shut down all the comments from people who lean the other way, or people who disagree with the article, or anything they like (possibly subject to other laws, but certainly no restrictions are placed here).
That's... full of implications, to say the least.
1.88 seems to indicate that pretty clearly, providing this example:
“In the case of a social media service such as Facebook, this rule deals with the situation where the news business has posted its covered news content on the news business’ own social media page. Comments on the news business’ articles posted by somebody else on another Facebook page are not covered by this law ”
Even that is pretty amazing on its own terms, essentially carving out the new's site on those platforms. Interestingly, I don't see it taking away control from the host, either, so either of them ought to be able to censor. It would be interesting to see a vigorously anti-Facebook article get posted on Facebook, with Facebook nuking everyone supportive of the article and the news site nuking everyone arguing against it. (And both of the nuking the "where are all the comments?" comments.)
Is there someone knowledgeable about Australian law that can explain how the "clarification" stands in relation to the actual law? In the US system, where AFAIK such clarifications would have low priority vs. the actual text of the law, I'd be nervous as a "digital platform provider" relying on the clarification to save me from the text of the law, which to my eyes do not contain that carveout, but under a different system these may be given higher priority.
(& with all due respect to the many fine Internet Lawyers (TM) on HN, International Internet Lawyers (TM) even, I am asking for people who actually know. I can provide myself with all the knowledge-free speculation I need already.)
It remains to be seen where they end up.
Using Google search, I don't know if I found the canonical draft but using this pdf as the source, the excerpt says:
>Which digital platforms must participate in the code?
1.29 A digital platform must participate in the code if the Treasurer has made a determination specifying a designated digital platform corporation. The Treasurer may also specify one or more designated digital platform services. [Schedule 1, item 1, section 52C]
1.30 The Government has announced that the code will apply to Facebook and Google. Accordingly, the Treasurer is expected to make an instrument specifying Facebook Inc. and Google LLC as designated digital platform corporations.
1.31 ‘Digital platform’ is not defined in the Bill, but is intended to capture platforms that deliver a wide variety of services such as social media services, search engines and other digital content aggregators.
1.32 A ‘digital platform service’ is a service that is provided by the designated digital platform corporation, either by itself or together with one or more related corporations. A given digital platform will normally
provide multiple digital services, such as messaging, search, content curation and other content sharing services.[Schedule 1, item 1, section 52B]
The way I as a layman read it is... "the law is targeted at giants like Google & Facebook and not Hacker News".
So, HN is spared not because it doesn't meet some strict criteria of what "digital platform is". Instead, HN won't be a target because it's too small to bother with.
This draft law allows the relevant government minister (in this case the Treasurer) to designate certain corporations as subject to this law. The corporations have access to the courts to challenge the designation and requirements of "natural justice" have been applied to ministerial actions by the courts.
And I'm not going to look, because secondly, even if Australia did somehow get its hooks in to HN to some significant degree, and there was no escape, Y Combinator would simply shut down HN. It's nice enough of them to run it as it is, but expecting them to play by these rules to do it is unreasonable. If they were feeling particularly friendly they might spin it off or something. (Turning it into a subscription service is probably feasible at this point, for instance.) Unlike Google or Facebook, HN is not their core business, and shutting off at this point could even be a net gain for quite a few years. The rep gain that HN afforded them is mostly realized now.
There's no way for Australia to squeeze Y Combinator through HN.
This part says that who the bill applies to will be defined later, by the Executive power.
And make no mistake about it - ALL the media in Australia owned by essentially one person, so there is a lot of leaning.
> 1.89 In the case of a social media service such as Facebook, this rule deals with the situation where the news business has posted its covered news content on the news business’ own social media page. Comments on the news business’ articles posted by somebody else on another Facebook page are not covered by this law.
If I read this right, they don't need a way to filter comments on a link to their article that someone else posts, just comments underneath one of their own posts. Still not great, but less intrusive than that text you quoted seemed to imply (I couldn't find in that exact wording in your link).
Which is nuts. And which this legislation is trying to, rather ham-handedly, fix. Also, it puts pressure on Facebook, which may actually be the secondary purpose.
I rarely google to find a serious publication. Perhaps it would be a good thing if Google stops indexing news sites.
This decision is crony capitalism at its worst.
(1) They had teams of people producing regular fresh content, to a high quality.
(2) They had existing subscriber bases, which could have been converted to other purposes (consider the online dating services offered by some of the UK newspapers.)
(3) They had existing economies of scale from business lines which were not dependent on the internet, buffering them against dot com downturns and the like.
(4) Several of them had other divisions producing other good content. e.g. motion picture rights.
(5) They had international presence, and internal connectivity.
(6) Many had existing consumer-connectivity through cable relationships.
Yet. None created geek-friendly workplaces, they were too tied to their cash cows, and they have done badly.
Google&friends are not making money and competing "like any other business".
I don't understand this. Can you explain, please?
Take the billions of dollars that you've saved from BEPS and use it to subsidize your local products, or run ads attacking the competition, or taking them to court, or hire salespeople, or build new content. Simple.
This is not specific to big tech though, it's a single point of failure of having a centralised government that is easily corrupted by rich corporations.
That's plain wrong. Every company only pays income tax in its country of residence. The only difference is that there might be a sales tax for physical goods.
That is not correct. Taxes are payable wherever the profits are made.
It is usually the case that the country where the company is headquartered will have a far greater proportion of profits compared to revenue because a lot of the things that add value happen there, but in the case of large tech companies, this is taken to the extreme, where not just profits, but even revenue itself is shifted from where the business actually happens.
For example, Google reported £1.6bn (US$2.1bn) in revenue and paid £44m ($58m) in corporation taxes (on profits of £231m ($303m) based on a 19% tax rate) in the UK for the 2019-20 financial year, but its actual UK revenue is estimated to be around £5.7b ($7.5b) for the same period.
Whereas car companies have consumers as their customers and have to pay sales tax, AdWords expenditure by businesses is considered a business expense and is not taxed (in the UK). If they played by the same rules, they would have paid around £1.14b ($1.5b; based on 20% VAT) in tax in 2019-20, instead of £44m.
No, with regard to income tax that's simply wrong.
That said, public companies typically have subsidiaries in other countries and these subsidiaries have to pay corporate income tax in their country of residence (but also regardless of where the profits are actually made). This is often used to avoid (or delay) tax payments, especially if the subsidiaries are in low-tax countries.
But if the parent company Apple Inc. sold an iPhone in Germany, they wouldn't have to pay income tax in Germany, just like BMW AG doesn't have to pay income tax in the US.
This is not true for the media. A functioning, critical, and trustworthy media is very important to society.
Profit ≈ importance is just flat out wrong in general.
(Not saying I agree with this govt intervention)
Even the "fair and unbiased" govt funded ABC is a total toothless joke.
> Even the "fair and unbiased" govt funded ABC is a total toothless joke.
I don't know much about the Australian media, but I do know a citation to a random youtube comedian does not convincingly support such a statement.
Australia's problem is that our news orgs are corrupt to the core, every journo is afraid to go against Murdoch in any way shape or form their careers are ended if they do.
So here we are, with this "comedian," doing a better reporting job than pretty much every single outlet in the country. With very few exceptions.
Climate change protests
Darling river fuck up
Fatty mc fuck face
My 2p guess is it's all about snippets and any other displayed information which would stop the user proceeding to an external result. Some % of total revenue distributed to owners of the snippet content, though it would be hard to determine the breakdown even for a single result page.
There won't be any revenue. Ever since France implemented their version of the "meme tax", where a tax would be charged when websites would want to use news snippets, what search engines did was simply drop the snippets. Example:
Google doesn't seem to do this. It's unclear to me if they are paying this fee or just don't care.
It doesn't permit digital service corporations from discriminating against protected news sources on account of their participation in the system. It does seem to permit actions that affect all news sources equally.
However, more frustrating and worrisome to me is that the exposure draft doesn't seem to define what conduct by Google/etc triggers these provisions. Some clauses apply to news content "made available" by the platform, but there's no definition in this bill of what "made available" means.
That could be read to require some sort of hosting of the content (e.g., rehosting an article or using a long extract), or it could be read to include mere linking. That's a huge difference: Hacker News could be a 'digital platform service' under the latter definition, but not the former.
The text of the law does not seem to cover this option.
> in comparison to other news content
They can stop showing news as such.
the same way that they decide who to pay.
> Responsible digital platform corporations may not discriminate between the news businesses participating in the code, or between participants and non-participants, because of their participation in the code.
Thus they would not be in violation of the law as all Australia news sources would be blacklists, not just those participating
You can't just use the list of "businesses participating in the code" because that's considered discriminatory and illegal under the new law. And if you decide using any other method, you risk accidentally classifying one of the "businesses participating in the code" as "not news" and showing it in search results anyway, which is also illegal under this law.
The best solution I can think of would be to use the list of businesses participating in the code as a starting point, and then add other non-participants through some other method. But then you run into a similar problem: what happens if you accidentally classify a non-participant as "not news" and they see a surge of traffic because they're one of the only news organizations in Australia that shows up in Google search results? Wouldn't that also be considered discriminatory and illegal under the new law, since that organization wouldn't have shown up in the results if they were a participant?
I mean, that's like the government saying that not only do you have to pay a toll when you use CityLink (okay, user pays) but it is mandatory to use that road as the only option, and that you must use it every day.
I really don't see how that can stop Google from dropping news from the search results completely. Or coming to an arrangement with Fairfax, where they pay a tiny amount, and nothing to NewsCorp.
PDF with draft policy here.
And the blacklisting is easy. A click of the button and it's off my list
The internet made people believe everything is free. But free news is either propaganda or a disguised ad.
I don't know if it technically falls afoul of existing legislation but clearly the old laws aren't really up to the job of regulating that. They weren't designed for it.
Wouldn't that imply that they simply have to pay to be displayed as it would be advertisement? Ergo they will get removed and not get any advertisement anymore as a result.
I mean, if you can't go to google news to get your news, maybe you do go directly to the website of some major news company (and get a monoculture).
With services like Google News, people can get exposed to news from various media outlets, but by killing it through lobbying for absurd regulatory burdens on aggregators the well known larger outlets can choke out access to their competition. This of course is hampered to some extent by the reality that many will just rely on other users posting on social media for news updates, and if that too is choked out through regulation on platforms, many will probably just skip the news or reduce their consumption in favor of other things like entertainment.
I now just spend a little time on Apple News+ to skim what is happening. While I am locking myself more into a mono culture just looking at US news, I decided that I needed to greatly decrease the amount of time I spent on the news every day.
The world situation is what it is. I try to accept the world as-is, invest as little time as possible understanding the world and concentrate on my own productivity, fellowship with friends and family, and generally appreciating culture and nature.
News watching is an addiction that too many of my friends have.
We're still able to find Danish news by Google search though, it's only the aggregation that Danish media is afraid of, as they are afraid to loose out on a lot of income on the ads they show while people browse their websites.
The weird part is, I am not Dutch, do not speak Dutch, and have never been to the Netherlands.
Because you can't actually change your country on your Google payment profile. You need to create a new one and then switch the new one.
I had to do this to switch my US account to an EU account with the EU GDPR user consent options. Your Google account is tied to the payment profile country AFAIK.
-- Andy Warhol
-- George Orwell (possibly wrongly attributed)
...or maybe they have figured it out.
Yes. We the users of HN are product - both individually, and also as a market segment, and also as a smart crowd.
Y Combinator provides seed funding for startups.
That is not to detract from the (very probable) angle of pg & team wishing to render a public service for the public good :-)
 the occasional bad thread notwithstanding ;-)
 aka HN hug of death
At least the product supporter ;)
Alphabet Inc. has made almost $27mil in campaign contributions, including contributing $1.6mil to Clinton's campaign in 2016. They've spent almost $89mil in lobbying since 1990. These big tech companies obviously have a stake in our democracy and choose to take an active role. Thinking they're impartial is incredibly naive.
> That the media considers the latter to be the threat to democracy says a lot about who they think should actually control the country.
I think they're both a threat to democracy. I believe that the Australian government should do all it can to limit the influence that multinational corporations have on our local political landscape, categorically. The only thing I fear more than partisan local media organisations, are partisan international media organisations that wield even more power. I don't for one second trust Facebook's own hidden agenda any more than I trust News Corporation's.
A man who, when asked about whether or not he will accept the next election's result, responds with 'We'll see', is objectively a pretty serious threat to democracy.
Simply voicing that opinion (and never following through on it) makes him a threat to, at minimum the public perception of the legitimacy of democracy - since democracy is one of those things that only works when people believe in it.
Big claims require big evidence, and here you haven't given any.
I don't go in for the conspiracy theories around Murdoch at all btw. But it is fairly clear that he has a substantial amount of contact with/control over politicians...it is just factually true (something that isn't obvious to people outside the UK, journalists are heavily involved in politics in the UK...going from journalism into politics and then back again or into PR/lobbying is done frequently).
Your post follows the pattern of the earlier one that I replied to: you echo the mantra that Murdoch has control over politicians, and you again leap from claim into statement of truth without evidence, "it is just factually true".
Occasional meetings with politicians is not evidence of control, nor the higher claim given earlier in the thread, of deciding the outcome of elections.
What the Australian government can do about News Corp becomes a question of media freedom, whereas Facebook and Google peddling it doesn't introduce that ethical or legal complication.
I could be wrong here though -- happy to be corrected.
A taxation model by "lottery" which randomly takes everything from an unlucky N people a year would work terrible in so many ways. Wanting a funding model that isn't terrible doesn't mean they don't want a functioning government.
In a way, yes. There are lots of usage taxes around driving that help fund road construction.
Hoo boy am I glad I don’t get value from that. Oof. Dang. Look at that. Oh boy.
Or do they force Google and Facebook to publish those snippets and pay for them? Making media kind of state controlled? If so, who decides which news have to be included?
Or what is this about?
"Legislation in Spain requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not."
Maybe it is similar to that? I wonder who defines what "news" are? If part of this text I am writing ends up quoted on a website owned by someone in Spain, I would be forced by law to send them an invoice?
In one way, this is good. It will fail miserably, and demonstrate to newspaper CEO's that "Big Tech" is not stealing their revenues. Then they can move on to try something different.
If this system works, and suddenly Australian newspapers are viable while newspapers elsewhere are still struggling, then it will prove that forcing tech to pay for content works, and that therefore tech was probably stealing media's revenue.
Filter bubble article mentioning news filtering
Article that social media may cause polarized views
This from the Treasurer of Australia.
I hope he understands that the same holds true for every A$1000 spent, too.
But the local Murdoch outpost's eagerness for this to happen certainly explains the motivation here.
Answers and image search should be opt in for copright holder.
(from the sibling commentor's link: https://www.afr.com/companies/media-and-marketing/facebook-a...)
I can't wait to see what will happen. I highly doubt Google will pay the black mail. Will they just shut off Google for Australia?
And lose the billions of revenue over a few million in news payments?
Of course not. Good on the Australian Government for putting them in a position where they actually have to contribute rather than taking their toys home and pouting
> News Corp has suggested the number is closer to $1 billion.
I highly doubt these companies will fork over a billion dollars each to just stay in Australia. Australia needs Google more than Google needs Australia.
Murdoch's empire is fading fast in Australia. The Australian, Foxtel, the print papers are all on their last legs. Their streaming offering Binge is laughably bad - it's only 1080p and works on barely any devices. They could well be done here too.
All upside, as far as I see it.
From a privazy perspective it would be awesome for Google to block Australia like some US news sites block european users bc. of GDPR.
The bigger problem would be Australians giving up YouTube, and to a lesser extent Android if Google Play Services is withdrawn.
There's no real competitor to YouTube, and especially during the virus where everyone's at home with nothing to do going without it would be a major pain point for many Australians. The country wouldn't collapse but it would be a big deal.
That's all assuming Google withdraws entirely from the country of course.
Youtube on the other hand would be a caltural loss due to the network effect even if replacements would be plenty.
Google is very good about shuttering projects that doesn't make them money. I'm sure if they're still running the service. It's making them money some how.
But I think this could be bad for competition too. How can someone enter the market for search if you have to jump through so many hoops? Google will try to work a deal that works well for them and tries to lock out competition as well by making the startup cost high.
My hope is that it ends up forcing them to be more friendly to publishers in how they send them traffic and how they appropriate their content. But I don't think money should change hands to let them use the content.
Facebook would also be much more pleasant.
> "They can't discriminate between international and Australian news. So they can't turn off Australian news and just use international news. That's discrimination. This is a mandatory code, the platforms must participate. They could stop showing news media on their platforms completely – that is, no local or international media – but short of that, they are compelled."
Seems like it's based on the same concept. Newspapers are loosing readers and they are blaming google and facebook.
But of course the lobbying is strong
They banned firearms, introduced the GST and made same-sex marriage legal. They've now introduced the largest welfare package in Australian history.
In comparison to most governments in the world, they're probably considered center-left at worst.
Technically probably correct, but it seems like the wrong comparison?
Compare them to the G20 or OECD or similar.
The Australian Liberal Party are pretty practical, they keep their nutters out of power, they didn't put forward a comedy prime minister, and they have a sense of duty towards the country.
But, they're definitely a conservative party. The Treasurer cited Reagan and Thatcher as his inspirations this week.
I think part of the confusion is that some wrongly judge the Australian Liberal Party by American political standards. Conservative parties in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, often make decisions which would be considered "liberal" in an American context, but are actually centrist (or sometimes even right-wing) in the context of their own countries. A good example is the Medicare levy surcharge was introduced by the Howard government, to penalise middle and high income earners that don't take out private health insurance; in the Australian context that was a conservative decision (it was designed to prop up private health insurers, and many on the Australian left viewed it as a threat to the public health system and a form of corporate welfare), yet when the US adopted more or less the same policy (an insurance mandate) as part of Obamacare, that was a liberal one.
The other issue is the ambiguity between "classical liberalism" vs "social liberalism"/"left liberalism"/"modern liberalism". The term "Liberal" in the name of the Australian Liberal Party is a reference to the former not the later. Classical liberalism has a huge amount of overlap with many versions of conservatism.
And even "conservatism" comes in many different forms, and different forms of conservatism can lead to very different policies. In the US, some conservatives argue for an aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East; others argue that the US should stay out of other countries' business. Both viewpoints are conservative, just the product of different versions of conservatism (neoconservative vs palaeoconservative). Similarly, while mainstream US conservatism combines "economic conservatism" (low and flat taxation, small and balanced government budget, low regulation, free trade, etc) with social conservatism, a significant minority of American social conservatives oppose economic conservatism (e.g. distributism, Catholic social teaching, Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative magazine, etc)
This is definitely true for fiscal issues or social welfare, and I think the example you provided is quite appropriate here, but compared to many places (particularly in the part of Europe where I live) I think the reverse is true about the US for social issues.
Similarly, despite abortion being such a political hot potato in the US, Roe v Wade ensures that US abortion laws are on the whole more liberal than those of a number of European countries.
On the other hand, if you look at an issue like the death penalty, the US retains it federally and in a majority of states, while every European country has officially abolished it except for Belarus. Even in Russia, whose government often takes quite conservative stances on social issues such as LGBT rights, it is officially abolished (although you could argue that the frequency of extrajudicial killings in Russia means that true abolition has not yet been achieved in practice.) And, death penalty aside, the US approach to criminal law is far more punitive than that of many European countries, and US policing also tends to be a bit of an outlier in terms of aggressiveness and brutality.
I think on social issues it really depends on which particular social issues you are most concerned with.
Switzerland is traditionally more slow-moving in terms of laws because of its insistence of making sure legislative changes are accepted by the population at large (with its initiatives and referenda), whereas in the US and many other countries, interested parties anywhere on the political spectrum can often quickly decide an issue if they happen to be in power.
This doesn't mean that the general attitudes of the population towards LGBTQ in Switzerland are or ever were worse than in the US. I have a feeling, that in general, attitudes tend to be very diverse in the US, with some areas / circles being totally in support and others in very strong opposition, whereas Switzerland tends to be a bit more homogeneous. Switzerland certainly doesn't have such a strong undercurrent of evangelical voters for which things like LGBTQ and traditional marriage (or also abortion etc.) are such a major driving factor (sure, those people exist, but they tend to exist more at the fringes). I also don't recall any debates about bakers not wanting to bake cakes for gay couples or any of that sort of nonsense.
That's not to claim that there is no homophobia in Switzerland, there certainly is. But I can't really believe that it's worse than the US.
> Switzerland is traditionally more slow-moving in terms of laws because of its insistence of making sure legislative changes are accepted by the population at large (with its initiatives and referenda), whereas in the US and many other countries, interested parties anywhere on the political spectrum can often quickly decide an issue if they happen to be in power.
Ireland approved same-sex marriage in a national referendum in 2015. (A referendum was necessary because the opposite-sex definition of marriage was enshrined in the Irish constitution.) Five years later, Switzerland still hasn't had a national referendum on the topic. So I'm not sure if Switzerland's slowness on this issue has anything to do with its political emphasis on referendums.
And in the case of the US, it wasn't achieved nationally through legislative changes, but rather through a decision of the US Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court has a long history of being far more willing to get involved in heated social and political debates than equivalent courts in many other countries, whose constitutional court instead tries to dodge them and leave them up to the democratic process.
> This doesn't mean that the general attitudes of the population towards LGBTQ in Switzerland are or ever were worse than in the US
I don't know enough about the culture of Switzerland to disagree, so I will accept your point. But, it still represents an area in which the US legal system is to the left of Switzerland's, even if substantial pockets of US culture may be to the right of Switzerland on the same issue. Law, politics and culture are deeply interconnected, yet distinct.
Where does Switzerland stand on immigration and cultural diversity issues? I don't have your personal experience of the topic (and I'd love to hear you elaborate in more detail about that), but here are a few facts I know about:
* About a quarter of the Swiss population is foreign-born. That is very high by the standards of the Western world (the US is only around 13%), few Western countries would exceed that (Australia and New Zealand are the only ones I know of). So in that sense, Switzerland does have an openness to immigration which exceeds that of any other European country.
* Switzerland's rules around naturalisation are very tough. A lot tougher than most European countries, or most Western countries.
* In 2009 Switzerland amended its constitution (by popular vote) to ban new minarets on mosques. I think that's quite outrageous discrimination against a religious minority. In a country like the UK (for example), they'd probably never allow a referendum on such an offensive proposal. I think it violates the European Convention on Human Rights, as religious discrimination. But, the European Court of Human Rights declared a case against it inadmissible on the grounds that the complainant didn't have any personal plans to build a minaret. (If a Swiss mosque was to file a case, they'd at least get past that initial admissibility hurdle, but I'm not aware that they have.)
So overall I'd say Switzerland's record on immigration and cultural diversity is a mixed bag. There are some positive elements (the high percentage of foreign-born population) and some negatives (difficult naturalisation and Islamophobic constitutional amendments).
But before you try to say the US's record on these topics is better, just remember who is in the White House right now and what he has had to say on the topic of immigration and cultural diversity.
So it isn't entirely clear to me who actually comes out in front in a comparison of Switzerland and US on this topic. And, consider also there are 40+ other countries in Europe, some of which arguably do better (in some areas) than Switzerland does on these issues, others have their own serious problems in those areas.
But, having lived in Switzerland for most of my life, I unfortunately feel that there is a very strong undercurrent of xenophobia, to the point that parts of it are even accepted among more left-wing circles.
That ended in the 19th century, however, and in the 20th and 21st centuries, those religious tensions are not what they used to be. (That's not something unique to Switzerland; most European countries, religious tensions people used to kill each other over, nobody cares about any more. Here in Australia, my grandfather told me how as a Catholic in the 1940s, he couldn't get certain jobs because some employers refused to hire Catholics, and the law let them get away with that. But, I've never heard in contemporary Australia of someone refusing to hire a Catholic, indeed nowadays it would be illegal for a secular employer to do so.)
Certainly you are right, that however bad Catholic-Protestant tension may have been in Swiss history, it still was nothing compared to the treatment of African-Americans.
They were dragged kicking and screaming across the line for same-sex marriage.
The GST reduced the tax payable on luxury items, so in essence was a more regressive sales tax.
The party was founded as a party of social liberals (with conservative economics), but for the last 3 decades has been eaten from the inside by a socially conservative wing resulting in a misnomer. The conservatives could have their own party, but the Liberal name and the remaining perception of liberalism attracts votes, as shown by the "Australian Conservatives" party which broke away from the Liberals and couldn't attract enough votes to survive.
You see the after-effects in e.g. Norway, where the liberal party is literally named "Venstre" ("Left")
It's just that most places the liberals have been firmly out-flanked on the left since.
How is being the only major party with MPs voting against same-sex marriage despite the public plebisciting for it "left-wing"?
I'll give you the other two though, but on the welfare package that Labor introduced following the GFC they (and of course News Corp) would not shut up about how terrible a thing it was, despite Australia being the only country to come out of the crisis mostly unscathed.
On the plebiscite/postal survey though: the government in Australia isn't bound by the results of it. It's just a survey. The fact that the Liberal Party put the result into law within 48 hours is their own doing, submitted by an LGBT member of the party no less.
A conservative party would fundamentally not do this.
You can scroll down in the linked Wikipedia article to see how everyone voted. You won't exactly see significant, genuine opposition. There was arguably more opposition from the left-leaning alternative, the Australian Labor Party, that had the most people abstain in the senate.
It was clear the economic right faction of the Liberals wanted a mandate from the people so that they could push past the socially conservative faction.
They were being blocked for months by the left - because it benefited the greens and labor politically to position the Liberals as anti-LGBT.
All the Liberals would have needed to say is “conscience vote” and it would have been done. That aside, if passing basic civil rights would threaten the stability of the party, then that’s kind of a shitty party.
Yes, the left did block enshrining basic civil rights in order to play politics.
> All the Liberals would have needed to say is
The Libs don’t care about gay rights and they still got the job done.
And you do know that there was real damage done through the process? Gay people got messages of hate and exclusion as it provided excellent fodder for the grubs to come out of the woodwork to spike vile hatred. There was real damage done during the process when all Turnbull had to do was a snap of the finger and it’d not get put through the process that it did.
Also love the part where you seem to be completely ignorant of Howard legislating to make gay marriage unambiguously forbidden. In 2004.
Of course they were playing politics - why would you sacrifice party unity when you can shame your political opponents on the left and still get the outcome you want?
You don’t seem to understand that your allies playing politics with something you really care about is completely different from your opponents playing politics with the same topic.
> Also love the part where you seem to be completely ignorant of Howard legislating to make gay marriage unambiguously forbidden. In 2004.
How does that help your case at all?
> A conservative party would fundamentally not do this.
Experiences in Canada, Austria, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand (of particular relevance to Australia), Sweden, the UK where conservatives in power had at least some if not most of their representatives vote LGBT marriage in is evidence to the contrary. Or is it that they aren't really "conservative" either by some arbitrary yardstick?
And to say that they allowed its members to vote how they actually always wanted to vote (now there's a democratic deficit) within '48 hours' after delaying it for months and toddling around with a voluntary postal survey for BASIC CIVIL RIGHTS for months and months after years of intransigence is highly disingenuous.
It is oddly self-contradictory as it both states that a digital platform may not discrimminate b/w a "registered news organisation" and non-registered news org, but also mandates a whole raft of areas where it must discrimminate and give special consideration to a "registered news organisastion". This almost seems like a legal trap so they are in violation no matter what they do.
Interestingly, when all else fails, the arbitration panel must make a decision that is "in the public interest" - which seems to open a loophole where Google / Facebook could argue that the value of free / open information is more in the public interest than supporting proprietary news organisation to paywall their content. It would be hilarious if it backfired, though I am sure the arbitration panel will be carefully constructed to ensure it is not sympathetic to tech companies.
Perhaps the increasing cost of supply-side content will finally spur a rethinking of these platforms’ fundamental business models. Here’s hoping…
Does that risk making privacy only available for those with the means to pay for it?
A product has to be paid for somehow. You could just as easily think of "paid premium" as the default, similar to the way you pay for a physical newspaper, magazine, etc.
Or you can pay by giving up your privacy instead. It's your choice.
Why shouldn't people who want to give up their privacy in exchange for personalized ads be allowed to?
His/her comment also illuminates the most substantive tangible risk to a company that chooses to experiment with paid premium tiers—as alluded to above, the issue is highly sensitive to framing, and the program’s reception hinges substantially on how it’s presented and marketed from the outset. It would require only the slightest of ornamental alterations and no change whatsoever in substance to recolor the very same proposition as “a cynical extortion and profiteering scheme—and perverse defilement of the fundamental human right to privacy—intended only to line the coffers of America’s wealthiest corporations at the expense of its poorest and most vulnerable citizens.” Indeed, mental gymnastics aren’t necessary to achieve a cognitive dissonance of diametric proportions on this issue—a mere logical tiptoe will suffice to traverse the universe.
Yes, but maybe businesses like Facebook shouldn't exist in their current shape given the amount of data required to make them profitable? Is the return worth the cost?
> Why shouldn't people who want to give up their privacy in exchange for personalized ads be allowed to?
Of course, but how many people are educated on what it actually means? How many people know that Google is an advertising business, not "just a search engine"?
We all know that the incentives of companies like this are not compatible with consent. Stronger regulatory actions and waaaay more emphasis on education is prob. the best we have at the moment.
That's for consumers to decide.
> how many people are educated on what [privacy] actually means?
Are 99% of consumers suffering any actual harm? They see better personalized ads, and yes, people are mostly aware of how internet ads "follow" you because we've all shopped for something and then seen a billion ads for it.
There are absolutely scary areas of privacy. Worries that your info will be used to determine insurance rates is addressed by legislation, so not a problem. And if you have real reasons for anonymity (civil rights, protests, politics, corporate, etc.) then you're already presumably educated on that and taking anti-tracking measures already.
But for the vast majority of people, their educated decision is to use free services in exchange for personalized ads. They see it as a deal or else they wouldn't be doing it.
> But for the vast majority of people, their educated decision is to use free services in exchange for personalized ads. They see it as a deal or else they wouldn't be doing it.
Again, these decisions need to be based on knowledge which they don't have.
> Are 99% of consumers suffering any actual harm? They see better personalized ads, and yes, people are mostly aware of how internet ads "follow" you because we've all shopped for something and then seen a billion ads for it.
Yes, Cambridge Analytica or Brexit are perfect examples of that.
Adtech, incl. programmatic advertising not only enables but incentivises sensationalist, emotion-driven and biased content.
This is due to the systemic issues within the industry and in itself is a wicked problem: different actors in the pipeline are motivated by different incentives. Think of the sales teams in adtech companies, publishers, publisher sales teams, brands, users... What motivates them how are they rewarded for their work?
Sales people talk in terms of budgets ("We just closed $X.000000!").
What do brands care about? How do you translate the budget into campaign effectiveness? There's so much lost in the process, which is not a secret.
Now, publishers don't like advertising but rely on it as a revenue stream. Different ways of monetising publishing content are possible but this would render the sales people working for publishers redundant and those people not only have mortgages to pay, kids to send to school, but generally are fairly influential within their orgs.
Finally we have the users who have... their lives to live. We have the elderly people falling into scams fueled by retargeting (if we're looking for extreme cases). How well informed/educated are they?
I don't need to understand the every single part of my car to drive it. I trust that it won't randomly explode when I start it. Why?
The points I'm trying to convey (poorly) are products of the conversations with people ranging from entry to CXO level at ad networks, publishers, non-profits, then readers/consumers. I worked on several sides of the problem (publishing, ad tech, privacy).
My opinion is that you grossly underestimate the impact of advertising on our society. We've grown used to it and learned to accept the current situation as a norm. Bear in mind that advertising in its modern form has its root in behaviourism and that's for a reason.
https://twitter.com/DrRESmith explains how complex networks of actors, including the algorithmic ones (i.e. social media), can be used to increase polarisation.
But note that this is an argument against all trade.
We don't allow an electric company to offer a "premium service tier" with a line installed to your house and a "free tier" for people who want to climb a pole and attach their own cable — even if there are a small number people could do this safely.
Now this could lead some people not to be able to afford, say, paid-only email, but then there could be options for people who can't pay for email, like a government program or non-profit organizations, just like there is for people who can't afford their electric bills. A church or other community group could even provide email to their members if you don't want it to be a government program, for example.
I suppose this includes the search engine. So if these people don’t want their thing to turn up in text results, why not update the robots.txt and close shop the next month?
I have no sympathy for Google and even less for Facebook. But that’s a shitty argument to make. It makes me want to create a client side google news clone, but that actually steal all the article content and remove all ads. Try blocking that.
I am only disappointed that our government would be complicit.
Make no mistake, I am no new media fan boy. In fact I hope this has the side effect of cleaning up the misinformation that spins around Facebook et al. But it is still sad to see such an obvious manipulation of our government.
On the one hand News Corporation and Fairfax Media can rot in hell, but I'm almost as afraid of what would happen to the national discourse in the resulting power vacuum.
Someone's gonna fill in, and most probably it will be Russian or Chinese propaganda.
We basically need an aggregator of all of those 2 cents, since individually the payment fees will be extreme.
I think I'm OK with the government going along, provided media companies have the choice on if they require payment for this sort of reuse of their content. Assuming it is optional, it will be interesting to see which companies charge. It will also be interesting to see if Google and/or Facebook think it is worth paying.
Personally, I go directly to the news sources I'd be willing to pay for and avoid all the crap. And search engines for research, to find older articles. I could see a business case for papers and similar to opt out of the news aggregators, but it would seem to be suicide to opt out of search as for all intents and purposes your domain would cease to exist.
This idea that the press is dying just because its revenue is drying up isn't rooted in reality. The press has enough influence to just make the public give it money, bypassing the whole "sell stuff" part of the model. For example, Canada just gave the press, as an industry, $595 million of the public's money for some reason.
No, the press is more powerful than ever. And why? Because if you have something nice and the press hates you, you're very likely to lose that nice thing.
How is Google normally handling the fact that what they display in excerpts is copyrighted material? Do they just assume their snippet is short enough to be fair use everywhere?
And couldn’t these sites just detect the crawlers and display article bodies that are a smaller, (0-10 words body)?
Also HN: Decade old, failing Murdoch empire should be funded by Big Tech under the law.
1. News businesses that are registered with ACMA and comply with the codes for print/TV/radio regarding content, eg press council etc and publish predominantly Australian content for Australian audiences
2. Have revenue over $150K/year
3. Digital platforms (as determined by the Treasurer)
It requires both sides to:
a) provide each other with information,
b) negotiate in good faith,
c) submit to formal arbitration if they can't agree.
The platforms are required (as a minimum) to not discriminate between news sources, what they collect about users that click on the news sources (where that is different to what they normally collect), and how they make that information available to the news source.
They're required to explain how they display paywalled contant, how they display non-paywall content, how they display advertising, and, if they change that, how the change will affect the news sources. It also requires the platform to, if they allow user comments (eg a FB page), allow the news source to control/disable/moderate those comments.
The news sources are allowed to co-operate in the negotiations.
It's not a long bill and it's in plain(-ish) English.
That's part of the problem, though -- it doesn't define what they're to negotiate in good faith over.
Ordinary negotiations involve some kind of proprietary, property, or contract right. I negotiate with my employer to provide my services in exchange for a salary, because absent an agreement neither party is compelled to do anything. I can also negotiate with my neighbour over compensation to my fence when he damages it, because that damage was contrary to law -- an action was taken without legal right.
I can't force my neighbour into negotiations when he throws a party and doesn't invite me (because of the stick up my ass about the fence, see above), because he had no obligation to do so in the first place.
So, how does this apply to Foogle? The negotiations in the bill appear to be related to news content 'made available' by the platform, but that term does not appear to be defined. In particular, it does not appear to be restricted to actions that would be covered by property-like copyright rights.
Instead, this bill appears to be taking a stance based on anticompetitive/monopolistic behaviours. There is a reasonable basis for this argument, but in my opinion any action would require much more groundwork to set out just what behaviours are allegedly harmful. This legislation seems to sidestep that entirely, and in particular the list of "must-consider" items for an arbitrator (52ZP) is entirely to the benefit of news corporations over Foogle.
> It also requires the platform to, if they allow user comments (eg a FB page),
To be scrupulously fair here, this doesn't seem to require that Foogle allow moderation of all user comments on a news story, only those on stories submitted by the news agency itself (52S.1(a)(ii)). So News Corp gets to moderate its own Facebook page, but it can't moderate comments on users' walls when they just discuss a News Corp article.
All of this is to say that as Google and Facebook become a bigger share of the revenue of news outlets, the more sway they'll have over what those news outlets publish, whether they stand or fall, etc.
Discrimination in this context will be considered to occur if the news content of a registered news business is disadvantaged incomparison to other news content in terms of the crawling, indexing,ranking, display, presentation or other process undertaken by the digital platform on any service provided by the digital platform, on the basis ofthe registered news business’ participation in the code.
IANAL, but my simple reading of this seems to imply it will be illegal for Google to NOT crawl and index News Corps content.
Peter Costello was, until 2007, the deputy leader and treasurer of the federal government, consisting then of the same parties that are pushing for this legislation.
Peter Costello, the same, is also since 2016 chairman of Nine Entertainment Co., the media company that would get the second highest amount of money under this legislation, right after Murdoch's own.
Yeah, Australia's kind of screwed up like that.
We don’t want Google subsidizing trash like the Sun, we would rather it subsidize high quality information sites like Quanta.
I wonder if Google could create some metric where they would be more than happy to never show results from the Sun, but show results from some places and pay those entities.
Sounds like a win-win-win.
Google wins because it’s search results are higher quality, the high quality news sites win because they can have better journalists, and the public wins because they have better information.
I'm sure at the very least the results will be interesting.
Be careful what you wish for though. As an Australian, I fear that Australian news media needs Facebook and Google far more than the other way around.
Hopefully it would stop journos from writting such gripping stories as "According to some blowhard on twitter...", "These is my opinions, and to back it up here are three people on twitter who agree with me,...", "Twitter was OUTRAGED by... (several posts with five likes and one reshare)" etc, etc, etc
So this would end up Google paying the publisher to send traffic to their site, so the publisher (potentially) earns money from Google for visitor Google has just paid for? Or something like that?!
Frankly they have enough user generated content already they don't need these companies. If it bans snippets and allows headlines for free then they'll do that, but honestly they have no need to pay a cent.
Best of luck to the Aussies, and maybe we’ll catch up sooner or later.
If I was Google or FB I know what I'd be thinking about doing now.
That'd be just wonderful once someone builds an adversarial model to trick the GPT-3 summarizer to output disinformation or other garbage.
Works well except for the edge cases. Aka not fully automatable yet so I never showed it to anyone.
I don’t disagree with this but it feels like this will open a hornets nest.
Will I be able to pay a license fee and reprint news stories? That could be really cool.
With even declining revenue
From memory, news outlets soon relented because they needed Google more than Google needed them.
When France followed Spain, they stopped Google from removing "Google News" by insisting that it was an abuse of market position to do so. Never mind the fact that it seems like an abuse of power to compel a company to do business in your region on terms it doesn't like, and to prevent it from backing out of the market.
Ben Thompson from Stratechery has some good summaries of this behind his paywall.
Fake news is free. Real news is behind paywalls.
Misinformation and conspiracy theories are what they peddle. This single company controls 70% of the newspaper market and lies, misleading and cheating are part of their DNA. I hope they don't see a single red cent out of this and if it takes the shutdown of Google News then so be it.