The Australian Government's attack on Google and Facebook

It’s so frustrating that the panel consistently ignores the main issue with regard to the laws being implemented in Australia to force Google and Facebook to negotiate a payment to newspapers for linking to or reposting news.

I agree that its the wrong approach and that Murdoch is partly behind it but there is a real problem in Australia and around the world in that the majority of reporters have lost their jobs. Local newspapers are all closing down, magazines are closing, the major dailies are consolidating and reducing staff. There is nobody watching dishonest local government councillors.

The cause is simply the loss of income due to most advertising going to Google and Facebook. Part of the problem is that news reports are easily replicated so there is no point in going to the publisher’s website and contributing to a paywall.

There is no easy answer, micropayments, copyright laws, taxes used to subsidise reporters? Maybe citizen journalists with some method of paying them for their work.

Without any reporters, democracy is doomed as the only news is made up by cranks and undemocratic countries.

Why doesn’t the TWIG panel discuss this issue? I would have thought it was a major concern for Jeff Jarvis at least.


This is NOT Google’s fault. There is nothing to be done that will fix this problem. It’s the same thing that killed Blockbuster (aka VHS video rentals)… PROGRESS! People don’t want to hold pieces of paper to read their news any more… they want it online. I don’t think Google is stopping people from finding things to read online, so the real problem must be somewhere else… Maybe people prefer watching videos to reading… or maybe they prefer many varied sources for their news instead of just one or two daily newspapers. Murdoch would rather milk a dying cow than figure out what people really want today and provide it.

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It’s very simple, Google and Facebook are taking the advertising revenue that kept newspapers in business. How many journalists do Google and Facebook employ to generate news stories? If papers go broke who will employ journalists? Sure everybody wants to view news online and the Internet has changed business models leaving newspapers behind, but who will pay the journalists? Somebody has to report the news and if there are no journalists there will be no news. This is already the case in Australia where most of the local newspapers have closed down. This is not a trivial matter and bashing Murdoch (who I despise) is not the answer.

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People want their news on the radio, the TV or online these days. I watch my local news on TV and read my news daily my iPhone or iPad on Apple News or on my SmartNews or NPR app! Why would I want to carry a paper or magazine in this day and age when I have my iPhone in my pocket??

Who is paying the clerks at movie rental places? Where are all the encyclopedia researchers and writers? Some jobs will go away, some will change and evolve. What if Google stopped indexing and Facebook stopped allowing people to link to any news sites. How would that employ any journalists? You can’t fix the problem by pointing at the cause… you need to address the cause. The cause is people don’t want newspapers or magazines any more. So come up with a solution for the problem…?

Aw it sucks that technology has proved how unimportant and inefficient those old technologies really were. If newspapers were still valuable they’d still be here publishing want ads and job ads. (Story is they made a lot of money doing want ads… Google nor Facebook has any effect on those… that was Craigslist and Kijiji and others.)

If people really want these things… then they should be paid for the same way that police and ambulance and firefighters and doctors and nurses are… the government will have to subsidize them. I don’t want my government to do this… I’d rather all the journalists evolve and get with the modern times. If ever there was a business for uberization… it’s probably journalism.

Absolutely I haven’t read a paper newspaper for years. All media companies are online nowadays. Somebody has to write the news reports for you to read online and it’s not Google or Facebook, so if the media companies go broke there won’t be any news reporting.

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You can’t equate the former with journalists or professional writers, such as encyclopedia researchers. And the latter is also a problem, just look at the poor state of many Wikipedia entries. Some are maintained by enthusiasts and contain very detailed information, but are somewhat biased, others don’t really find any fans and are nearly bare.

Very few of the contributors are trained researchers and the content suffers as a result.

The same is very true of journalism. They aren’t “middle-men”, like video store clerks, they aren’t just pushing a finished product over the counter at you, they are going out, doing the research, often putting themselves in danger and reporting what they find to us in an unbiased way.

Yes, you get the press-release chasers and the politically supported reporting, but proper, deep investigative, unbiased journalism is not cheap.

Journalism is journalism, whether you read it in a paper, online, listen to it on a radio or on the internet or watch it on TV or the internet. High quality, professional journalism costs a significant amount of money and very few publishers can afford to do real journalism these days, they got rid of their good reporters a long time ago and just use “popular” people, people who are pretty or who can write vitriol that will pull in the clouds.

Just look at the state of US journalism in the mainstream, CNN, Fox New, WaPo, NY Times, they are all appallingly bad jokes of their former selves. They pander to political bias and don’t really cover stories properly.

Real journalism costs real money. Google & Facebook won’t pay for it, but they want to publish the results through their own pages for free, to get people to use their services.

I do agree, the old ways won’t work going forward, but you are already seeing what the decline of real journalism is doing in the USA…

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You seem to be assuming that the problem is that paper based newspapers and magazines are no longer relevant. All the media companies are online and all the journalists are producing work for online. As Google and Facebook get all the advertising as its a smarter way of advertising the “newspapers” put up paywalls, but apart from a few most companies can’t make enough from a paywall to employ many journalists. Partly because why pay for a news report when you can get it free as somebody reposted it on Facebook.

There aren’t any easy answers and that is why I would like to hear what TWIT has to say about it.

If a music recording artist has their work posted on YouTube without permission of recompense, YouTube takes it down almost immediately as its a copyright issue and the artist deserves some income from their work. So when somebody reposts a newspaper report on Facebook why is it not taken down unless the author is paid for it?

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Hello wut??? Google doesn’t hack freaking newspaper sites to publish the headlines… at least not yet. As of right now they get the data from the providers of the content because those providers know that being indexed by Google DRIVES TRAFFIC TO THEM. If they want Google to stop, there is a simple file they can put on their site to make that happen.

So what’s your point? Consumers clearly don’t care about journalism, or the crap that is out there like anything on BuzzFeed wouldn’t exist. The only fix I can foresee involves the creation of content paid for in the same way as art is paid for… as a public good. (Either that or hope for a lot of public education… yeah right on that! :cry: )

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Public education here is fairly good and people are interested in real journalism here… The problem is Google applying US standards to things that aren’t comparable in other countries and cultures.

I was referring to Facebook not Google as I thought Facebook reprinted the article but I was wrong like Google they just post links. I agree with you, that’s why I don’t like the Australian approach as in both cases only links are being published which drives traffic to the publishers.

However, that does not address the problem of Google and Facebook taking the advertising revenue.

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