Google threatens to make its search engine unavailable in Australia

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The Canadian Press

Google has threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government goes ahead with its plan to charge digital giants for content produced by news media.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison quickly hit back, claiming that we do not respond to threats.

Australia sets the rules for what you can do in Australia, he told reporters in Brisbane.

It is done in our Parliament. It is done by our government. And that's the way things work here in Australia.

Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister

His comments came after Mel Silva, chief executive of Google Australia and New Zealand, told a Senate committee on the bill that the new rules would be unworkable.

If this version of the code became law, it would give us no choice but to stop making Google search available in Australia.

Mel Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia and New Zealand

And that would be a bad result not only for us, but also for the Australian people, the diverse media and the small businesses that use our products every day. , she added Mel Silva.

The government's proposed mandatory code of conduct aims to ensure that Google and Facebook fairly pay Australian media companies for the use of news content they siphon off news sites.

Mel Silva mentioned that she was willing to pay a large and diverse group of news editors for the value they add, but not under the proposed rules, which included payments for links and inserts in which the news appears. extracts from a web page.

She claimed that the biased arbitrage model of the code also posed unmanageable financial and operational risks for Google. She suggested a series of changes to the bill.

We believe there is a way we can work, added Mel Silva.

Read also :

  • Australia wants to force Google and Facebook to pay for content
  • Media: Australia unveils its plan to charge Google and Facebook
  • Commission on the future of the media: GAFA in the dock

As in many other countries, Google dominates Internet searches in Australia. Ms. Silva told senators that about 95% of searches in the country are done through Google.

When asked by a senator about how much tax the company pays, she revealed that Google paid around A $ 59 million (US $ 46 million) last year on revenues of A $ 4.8 billion (US $ 3.7 billion).

Facebook is also opposing the rules and has threatened to remove the news from its site in Australia. Simon Milner, vice president of Facebook, said the sheer volume of deals he is expected to make would be unworkable.

The Australia Institute, an independent think tank, has revealed lawmakers should stand firm against bullying by Google.

Google's testimony today is part of a pattern of threatening behavior that shivers down the spine for anyone who appreciates our democracy, concluded Peter Lewis, one of the directors of the think tank.

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