News National Google merely ‘poster in newsagent window’

Google merely ‘poster in newsagent window’

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Google says it acted in good faith before the government decided to force tech companies to pay for news content. Photo: Getty
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Google has hit back at claims it refused to help Australia develop a tech industry code of conduct.

The internet giant will soon be forced to pay millions for news content under a mandatory code for digital platforms.

Facebook will also be made to pay for Australian news.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the code last month after talks broke down to establish voluntary rules.

But Google Australia managing director Mel Silva said the company had acted in good faith.

Ms Silva addressed “misconceptions” behind the code becoming mandatory.

“We have sought to be constructive in our approach from the outset,” Ms Silva said.

“Google Search doesn’t make any money when a user clicks on a news search result, rather when users click on ads.”

Facebook and Google dominate the digital advertising market, benefiting greatly from the content of news publishers on their platforms.

For every $100 of online advertising excluding classifieds, $47 goes to

Google, $24 to Facebook and $29 to other players.

Ms Silva compared news articles showing up in Google searches to newsagents displaying posters of newspaper headlines.

“In contrast, Google Search sends readers from Australia and all over the world to the publishers’ sites for free,” she said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will finalise the code in July, months ahead of schedule.

The government had originally threatened to implement a mandatory code if an agreement wasn’t reached later this year, but then reversed its decision.

Ms Silva said Google would continue to work constructively with the government and the ACCC.