SYDNEY: Australia on Thursday called on Google to “focus on paying for original content, not blocking it” after the internet giant ran tests that restricted access to domestic news content and widened a gap between the tech giant and the government .
After Alphabet Inc. search engine provider said it was conducting experiments to determine the value of its service to Australian news agencies, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg accused him of “blocking” users when he was supposed to pay for the content.
“The digital giants should focus on paying for original content and not blocking it,” Frydenberg told reporters, referring to Google and the social media giant Facebook.
Companies should “pay traditional news media companies a fair amount of money for the news media companies that generate original content,” he added.
The spit shows the strong resistance of so-called big tech firms to laws that will force them to negotiate with Australian news agencies about payment for the content appearing on their platforms.
If the parties cannot reach an agreement, an arbitrator appointed by the government will decide for them. In a long-standing dispute, Google and Facebook have called the rules unfair and suggested that they force them to restrict their offers in the country.
After media reports said Australian news websites were not showing up in search queries, Google confirmed that unspecified tests were being carried out on news media.
“We’re currently running some experiments, each reaching around 1 percent of Google search users in Australia, to measure the impact of news companies and Google search on each other,” a spokesman said in an email, adding that the experiments would be completed by early February.

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