The EC believes “very harmful” the information blockade of Facebook in Australia


Brussels (EFE) .- The Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, considered this Monday “very damaging” the temporary blackout of news content carried out by Facebook in Australia and considered that it is necessary to “support” the Government of that country in its It “fights” to force technology companies to pay the media for the content they publish on their platforms.

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“It really seems very harmful to me that a platform takes these measures to protest against the law of a country,” Breton said in an appearance by videoconference in the Internal Market committee of the European Parliament, in which he was in favor of “supporting Australia in this fight. ”

Facebook announced last Thursday its decision to prohibit publishers and other users in Australia from sharing news produced by the media on its platform in response to a bill that the previous day had been approved by the Lower House of the Australian bicameral Parliament. .

Despite the retaliation, the Australian Government announced last Friday that it will continue with its roadmap to pass the bill.

“There are laws and the platforms have to adapt” and “not the other way around,” said the European Commissioner.

For Breton, the price of news from the media should be “obviously remunerated at its fair value, especially by the large platforms.”

In this sense, he stressed that the problem of copyright on news has already been resolved in Europe with a directive on the matter that is due to come into force next June.

Unlike the world’s pioneering Australian bill – which forces Google and Facebook to use a mediator to agree a price with press publishers if they have not reached an agreement before -, European copyright law offers publishers media the right to demand payment for a license.

In addition to the European copyright law, the Community Executive last December presented a broad legislative proposal to limit the abuses of power by large digital platforms, such as Facebook and Google.

This is the digital services directive that aims to force the internet giants to remove illegal content from their web pages and fine them up to 6% of their global turnover if they do not do so.

Parallel to this push by the Commission for laws to limit the power of big tech, there are MEPs who are considering the possibility of following in Australia’s footsteps and forcing companies like Google and Facebook to pay the media for the links to the news that appear on their web pages.

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