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Google Threatens to Pull Out of Australia

Google has threatened to pull its services including Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps out of the Australian market should the Australian government pass a new law forcing the tech giant alongside others such as Facebook to make financial agreements with news organization whose articles appear in search results or is shared on a Google-owned platform. Mel Silva, the regional Google director, said that if such laws were implemented, it would force the company to "stop making Google Search available in Australia". Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison fired back that "We don't respond to threats".


Ms. Silva has since stated that "we feel there is a workable path forward", suggesting that the company is willing to consider paying news publishers for the value they added, but not under the current proposed rules which include payments for links and snippets. She suggested discussing tweaks to the proposed law, saying that as it is, the bill posed unmanageable and unfair financial and operational risks for the company.


As of now, Google has about 90-95% of the search engine market share in the nation. However, as domestic print advertising revenues have dropped by about 75% in the past 15 years, spokespeople of the Australian government said that it wanted "fair" payments to news organizations. The Australian Institute, an independent think-tank, suggested that lawmakers stand firm against "Google's bullying". 


Simon Milner, a Facebook Vice-President, also opposes the rules set out in the proposed law, saying that the sheer number of deals the company would have to strike would be unworkable and also threatening to remove all news stories from its Australian site. 


Note: All images used in this article were retrieved from the public domain, and do not require attribution or citation for commercial purpose. 

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