New Zealand plans to require Google and Meta to pay local media companies to republish news content on their platforms. The country’s Broadcasting and Media Secretary, Hon Willie Jackson, announced the proposed legislation on a Sunday press release.
“It’s not fair that the big digital platforms like Google and Meta can host and share local news for free. It costs to produce the news and it’s only fair that they pay,” Willie Jackson said in the statement. “New Zealand news media, particularly small regional and community newspapers, are struggling to remain financially viable as more and more advertising goes online. So it’s crucial that those who benefit from their news content actually pay for it,” he added.
New Zealand’s announcement follows the passage of similar legislation in Australia. Canada also said its legislators are in the process of drafting corresponding guidelines. And New Zealand noted that its new rule would be based on what has been done elsewhere.
Basically: Google and Meta are likely to negotiate their own deals with news publishers. However, if no agreement is reached within a certain period of time, the government would step in to schedule the necessary negotiations. Facebook and Google have already signed some commercial deals with New Zealand news organizations such as NZME Ltd a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Some turbulence followed the passage of Australian legislation as Meta attempted to subvert the rule and for a time during negotiations the company just blocked all messages from its Facebook platform. Months after the law came into force, however, the Australian government said it had been a success and resulted in more than 30 negotiated agreements a report published last Thursday.
Although New Zealand’s law is not yet fully drafted, the country’s Labor Party-led government is expected to pass the law easily when the time comes a report from Reuters.
Regardless, Meta appeared to be making up the difference in Australia and elsewhere by ending its US pay-to-republish deals with major media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal earlier this year. Previously, the social media company had paid a total of more than $100 million to these news organizations, but stopped those contracts in July. At the time, a company spokesman told Gizmodo in an email: “Most people don’t come to Facebook for news, and as a company there’s no point investing too much in areas that don’t align with user preferences.” Forget the “News Feed”.)
Similar to the tech industry, the media have (once again) been battling the costs cuts and layoffs as the online advertising model continues to be a difficult financial framework to succeed.
Gizmodo reached out to both Meta and Google for comment, but neither company responded immediately. However, Mia Garlick, Meta’s regional policy director, told The Wall Street Journal: “We are concerned about the unintended impact that future legislation will have on innovation in both the media and broader technology sectors.”