Australia passed a new law on Thursday that requires tech giants like Facebook and Google to pay for the news shared by users on their platforms. The law is pitched as a way to stop Big Tech from destroying the business model for actual news media — a legitimate problem that only seems to worsen by the day.
But in a hilarious new clip, Australian political comedy outfit The Juice News argues that only does the law not protect the news industry, it appears to exist primarily to protect large-scale media companies like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
The clip, part of The Juice News’ ongoing video series “Honest Government Ads,” criticizes the law as an overly convoluted way to avoid closing Australian tax loopholes that benefit major companies, that in essence makes “Facebook and Google prop up mega news corporations” but doesn’t ensure that revenue will go to actual journalists instead of shareholders.
“Instead of trying to fix what people don’t like about big tech,” the clip continues, “it encourages traditional media to get in on the action” by allowing media outlets to share in tech data mining, and get advance notice of algorithm changes — which would give them monopolistic advantages over smaller outlets who won’t receive those perks.
Last week before the passage of the law, Facebook banned the sharing of any news by Australian users. Facebook backed down on Monday, after Australian lawmakers offered a few concessions to the company and Google, among them giving tech giants more time to negotiate with news outlets before disagreements are sent to an arbitrator. In addition, the law as passed also gives tech companies wiggle room, saying it “must take into account whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements” with news outlets.
The new law will be reviewed a year from now by Australia’s treasury department but Facebook has come out firmly against it unless it is amended. Google however has already struck a Murdoch’s News Corp. that’ll let it feature content from outlets like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and Financial Times.
We don’t live in Australia so we’ll leave it up to Australians to decide if this law is the right approach. But we feel comfortable telling this video at least is pretty damn funny and convincing. You can watch the whole thing above.