Welcome to The Fix’s weekly news digest! Every Friday, we bring you important news stories from the world of media – and try to put them in a wider context.
This week has been especially rich in news stories about the standoff between big tech publishers and governments trying to regulate them, often in an attempt to force tech giants to pay for news content they feature.
Australia was the biggest story last week, when Facebook abruptly blocked any news sharing for Australian users and Australian content, responding to a proposed law that would make it pay for displaying publishers’ content.
This week, though, we saw the conflict deescalate as both parties reached a compromise. Facebook agreed to pay Australian publishers for content (and resume news sharing on the platform), while the government implemented some changes advocated by Facebook to the bill.
According to Axios, “the impact of Facebook’s link ban showed the power the tech giants have over publishers, who lost a large volume of traffic during the confrontation.”
More from The Fix: Wrong answers only: Google vs. Australia vs. Facebook
As Europe is seeking to follow in Australian footsteps, European publishers have found an interesting ally – Microsoft.
According to PressGazette, “four press publishing coalitions in Europe have teamed up with the tech company to call for an arbitration mechanism, inspired by Australia’s proposed legislation” that would make platforms share their revenue with publishers.
A few weeks ago, Microsoft offered to replace its competitors’ search engine with Microsoft-owned Bing. But Google reached a deal with the Australian government, and it seems that Microsoft is hoping to have better luck in Europe.
In France, Google is taking some heat from the authorities as an investigation found the company did not fully comply with the government competition authority’s orders on negotiations with news publishers.
Last year, France’s Competition Authority ruled Google had to start negotiations with local publications over paying for using their content in search results; later, a court affirmed this decision. Google agreed to comply.
However, a report cited by Reuters described less than perfect implementation as “Google did not comply with requests from the watchdog to start negotiations with the publishers within a three-month deadline” and did not provide all the data needed – a breach “of an exceptionally serious nature,” according to the publication’s sources.
More from The Fix: French authorities clash with Google over paying for content
Finally, Canada “vowed… to make Facebook Inc pay for news content” this week, Reuters reports. The country’s government is planning to develop a bill similar to the one passed in Australia.
The Minister of Canadian Heritage, who oversees preparations of the legislation, has promised not to back down should Facebook ban news sharing in Canada. The exact model of the regulations has not been determined yet – it might resemble either the Australian approach, or the French model, or some other way altogether.