Michael Miller: Government’s response to Meta will be “watched closely on the international stage”

Michael Miller

Miller writes that the move by Meta shows “the company’s brazen indifference to regulations.”

The way that the government responds to Meta refusing to sign future Media Code deals is becoming “a vital moment in the global battle to force this trillion-dollar company to play by the same rules of commerce and fair trading that other businesses live by,” according to executive chairman of News Corp Australia, Michael Miller.

In an opinion piece published in the Australian Financial Review, Miller writes that the move by Meta shows “the company’s brazen indifference to regulations and the content creators that feed their platform.”

Responding to the initial announcement on Friday afternoon, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland described the move as “a dereliction of its commitment to the sustainability of Australian news media” – a stance that Miller says “is to be welcomed.”

With the Albanese government now promising to “work through all available options under the News Media Bargaining Code,” Miller notes that “our nation’s response to this techno-anarchist will be watched closely on the international stage.”

In a metaphor, Miller goes so far as to say “If content providers were farmers, Meta would steal their crops and demand their victims thank them for the privilege.”

Ultimately, Miller writes that the creation of the News Media Bargaining Code has given the government “firepower” that it will now need to follow through on using. 

“After months of failing to enter negotiations with Australian media outlets we should believe Meta when it says it won’t pay for news. It has, as they say, some form in this area.

“It represents yet another demonstration of the imbalance of bargaining power which the code was designed to restore,” Miller concludes.

In a statement made on Friday, the tech giant said the move to pull out from negotiations was “part of an ongoing effort to better align our investments to our products and services people value the most.”

Meta also promised that “we will not enter into new commercial deals for traditional news content in these countries and will not offer new Facebook products specifically for news publishers in the future.”

In early April, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram will shut down Facebook News in Australia and the United States. The dedicated news tab was axed in the UK, France, and Germany last year. 

See Also: Meta pulls the pin on news media deals with publishers and axes news tab

Top Image: Michael Miller

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