Google has upped its campaign against the government’s proposed legislation that would force it pay news websites whose stories are included in search results.
It’s targeting the ACCC in particular, which has been tasked with drafting the bargaining code which, once legislated, would be mandatory for Google, Facebook and large Aussie news outlets. The firsts step was an open letter which has been plastered all over the Google and YouTube homepages since yesterday.
Now the company is also leveraging YouTube’s enormous and dedicated userbase to make submissions to the ACCC, regardless of whether or not they’re even based in Australia.
In a series of tweets, YouTube staff encouraged users to “send your views on the draft code” as a way of supposedly supporting creators.
You can help support your favorite creators – you don't have to be based in Australia to send your views on the draft code to the ACCC, just email email@example.com by 5 pm AEST on 28 August 2020.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) August 17, 2020
We’ll share more ways to get involved in the coming days too.
(1/2) You don’t have to be based in Australia to send your views on the draft code to the ACCC – email them at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 pm AEST on 28 August 2020.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) August 17, 2020
In a blog post, YouTube Asia-Pacific head Gautam Anand again said YouTubers could be unfairly disadvantage compared to media organisations in terms of where they rank in search results.
On yesterday’s open letter front, the ACCC has since issued a response accusing Google of spreading “misinformation”. Now Google has issued a response to the response.
“We strongly disagree and are concerned that our view of the code has been represented this way during a consultation phase,” a Google spokesperson said.
The main disagreement comes form the ambiguous wording of Google’s initial open letter, which stressed that the proposed legislation threatens Google’s “free services”. The ACCC made clear there was no threat to keeping Google search and YouTube free services.
“We did not say that the proposed law would require us to charge Australians for Search and YouTube – we do not intend to charge users for our free services,” the Google spokesperson added.
“What we did say is that Search and YouTube, both of which are free services, are at risk in Australia. That’s because the code as it is drafted is unworkable.”
Despite Google’s claims, the legislation is backed by the MEAA (the main union representing journos) and of course the ACCC, which is in charge of drafting the actual code.
Submissions close on August 28. You can have your say here.