On 20 April 2020, the Australian government announced it had directed the ACCC to develop a mandatory code of conduct to address bargaining power imbalances between Australian news media businesses and each of Google and Facebook.
The government asked that a draft mandatory code be released for public consultation before the end of July 2020, with a final code to be settled soon thereafter.
The ACCC has released this draft version of the news media bargaining code.
The draft code would allow news media businesses to bargain individually or collectively with Google and Facebook over payment for the inclusion of news on their services.
The code also includes a set of ‘minimum standards’ for:
- providing advance notice of changes to algorithmic ranking and presentation of news;
- appropriately recognising original news content; and
- providing information about how and when Google and Facebook make available user data collected through users’ interactions with news content.
About the draft code:
The code seeks to address the fundamental bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and major digital platforms. This imbalance has resulted in news media businesses accepting less favourable terms for the inclusion of news on digital platform services than they would otherwise agree to.
While bargaining power imbalances exist in other areas, the bargaining power imbalance between news media businesses and major digital platforms is being addressed as a strong and independent media landscape is essential to a well-functioning democracy.
The ACCC invites all interested parties to provide their views on the draft code.
Written submissions are due by 5 pm on 28 August 2020.