The Government of India is expected to soon take a call and make the big tech Silicon Valley companies such as Google (owns YouTube), Meta (owns Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram), Twitter and Amazon pay the local Indian publishers as well as digital publishers’, a share of the revenue for the original content churned by them.
Up until now, the big tech companies, using the lack of legislation, have managed to avoid payments to the news platforms. With opaque ad-sharing revenue models, the major chunk of advertising revenue stays with the big tech companies. Often, the digital publishers are left lamenting about not receiving their fair revenue share.
Minister of State for IT and electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar stated that the government was seriously considering formulating new rules to correct the anomaly of the situation.
“The market power on digital advertising that is currently being exercised by the Big Tech majors, which places Indian media companies at a position of disadvantage, is an issue that is seriously being examined in the context of new legalisations and rules,” the minister was quoted as saying by TOI.
Tech platforms are opaque in their practices
Facebook started as a platform that connected people. However, it has now metamorphosed into a space for sharing news and other media content. Similarly, Google is not just a search engine anymore, albeit, it has branched out to become a major platform for sharing news.
According to Digital News Publishers’ Association (DNPA), more than 50 per cent of the traffic on news websites is routed through Google. And Google, akin to its ad-revenue policies, is opaque about the algorithms that push a particular news channel website up on the list.
While the Indian government mulls bringing the legislation, countries around the globe have already started to tighten the bolts. Reportedly, Australia and France have already brought and enacted legislation that binds Google and other tech platforms to divide their share of the pie with local news creators. Canada and United Kingdom are also attempting to bring similar legislation.
However, when the South American country of Brazil brought the ‘Brazilian Law of Freedom, Responsibility and Transparency on the Internet’, the tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter banded together and shot off an open letter where they made it clear that they were against payment for news content to publishers.
Competition Commission of India (CCI) is already onto Google for its discriminatory policies. The government mooting a law is expected to further pile on the pressure.
(With inputs from agencies)
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