Power of the internet

Google has threatened to cut off search to Australian users if the Federal Government's proposed media bargaining code becomes law. The legislation aims to force digital platforms, such as Google and Facebook, to pay media companies for news content displayed on their sites.

Google claims that the new laws will break their search functionality, putting their business at risk in Australia. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, also said that these laws "risk breaching a fundamental principle of the web by requiring payment for linking between certain content online".

Media companies in Australia have accused both Google and Facebook of profiting off their content without paying anything for it. With revenue for traditional media companies on the decline, they have difficulty accepting that their content appears on other digital platforms without them paying a single cent for creating the news content. They believe these laws are essential for the survival of independent journalism.

Should this code become law in Australia, it will set a precedence for other countries to follow suit. The big tech players have a lot more at stake than the few billion dollars of revenue they get in Australia. It would be easy for them to follow through on their threats, to show that they are not joking. 

That's some power.