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Google is openly threatening to shut down the search engine in Australia in response to a planned media law — News Media Bargaining Code. According to government plans, internet companies such as Google parent Alphabet and Facebook will pay local media companies in the future when they distribute their content. Otherwise, according to Australian media reports, there are fines of up to ten million Australian dollars.

The project is not feasible and involves financial risks for Google that cannot be calculated, said Mel Silva, the managing director for Google’s activities in Australia, at a hearing in the Senate on Friday. Leaving the Australian market would be “the only rational decision if this law were to be passed,” she said.

At the end of August last year, Facebook openly threatened to prohibit publishers and users in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook or Instagram if the corresponding bill was passed.

The stipulation that in addition to the payments, Google should give media companies a 14-day advance warning about changes to the search and YouTube algorithms should also play a role in the current decision.

According to Google, this “special treatment” would disadvantage all other website operators. According to Google, paying for links also goes against the fundamentals of the free and open web. Google receives support in this from the Business Council of Australia, but also from the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee.


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