On Thursday, Australia made it lucidly clear to technology giants Facebook Inc and Google Inc that will have to agree and comply to Australia’s new rules, designed to ensure that they do not abuse their market power and damage competition, failing which the government will impose new controls on them.
In a statement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will create a code of conduct to address complaints that the technology companies have a stronghold on advertising.
The code of conduct will ensure that the market powers of tech giants is not used to lessen competition in advertising services and in the media markets.
“I want us to be the model jurisdiction in the world for how we are dealing with digital platforms, social media platforms,” said Morrison to reporters in Melbourne.
The development marks a tightening of regulatory screws on online platforms. Governments across the globe are scrambling to address concerns ranging from anti-trust issues to the proliferation of “fake news” and hate speech on these platforms.
In a statement, the Australian government said, technology companies will have to agree to the new rules by November 2020 failing which it will be imposed on them.
“The companies are on notice. The government is not messing around. We will not hesitate to act,” said Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
Both, Google and Facebook have said they support competition and will work closely with the ACCC.
“We support a sustainable news ecosystem which is why we work with publishers to help them reach new audiences,” said Mia Garlick, director of policy, Australia and New Zealand at Facebook.
Facebook and Google have opposed tighter regulations.
“It’s great the government is making a serious attempt to address the deep-rooted dominance of the online tech and streaming giants,” said Paul Anderson, chief executive of Australia’s Network 10.
Australia has for months signaled its intentions to get tough on the technology behemoths.