18:26 GMT25 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has called out Google for the use of unfair business practices in relations with Australian media outlets, following the media giant's recent decision to carry out an experiment that blocked some domestic news websites from search results.

    "Well, Google, Facebook, other digital giants, should focus not on blocking users in Australia accessing domestic content, they should focus on paying for it. The digital giants should focus on paying for original content, not blocking it," Frydenberg said at a press conference.

    The treasurer added that the country's parliament was considering a new code that would tackle the bargaining power imbalance between news media and digital platforms.

    "As you know, we have again introduced legislation that's now before a Senate committee, to put in place a world-leading mandatory code, to see those digital giants pay traditional new media businesses a fair sum of money for those news media businesses generating original content," Frydenberg said.

    On Wednesday, Australian users were not able to find a number of domestic news websites in Google search results. Google confirmed that it was carrying out experiments regarding the news businesses, adding that only about one percent of users would be affected by the activities.

    In April, the Australian government tasked the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to come up with a code of conduct to tackle the issue of alleged imbalance in bargaining power between digital platforms, particularly Google and Facebook, and news media.

    Google strongly opposed the initiative, saying that the code would pose a threat to the free and open Internet. The company suggested supporting Australian news businesses by creating a platform, Google News Showcase, where news outlets would publish their stories and users would be charged for access to the publications.

    Tags:
    business, Google, Australia
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