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Australia: new bill to regulate Facebook, Google figures at Morrisons discuss with Prime Minister Modi

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed Canberras media policy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The conversation took place against the backdrop of the Morrison government’s negotiations with tech giants Facebook and Google, which led to the temporary suspension of many Australian accounts on social media platforms on Thursday.

The Hindu explains | Why is Google irritated by Australia’s proposed payment for news content law?

As global strategic partners, we can work together on common challenges including COVID-19, the circular economy, the oceans and an open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We also discussed the progress of our media platform Bill, Mr. Morrison said on Friday after the conversation with Mr. Modi.

Mr Modi had informed about his discussion with Mr Morrison a day before, but his social media post did not highlight the part on the Australian bill.

According to the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Trading Code Bill 2020, big tech and social media giants like Facebook and Google will have to pay local media outlets to use their content. This decision is currently being studied around the world as it will set a precedent in the use of news and web content that can have a permanent impact on internet use in Australia.

It is in this larger transcontinental context that the discussion of internal Australian dominance between the two leaders is seen as unusual. It appears that after its enactment, the bill is likely to influence other democratically elected governments that are struggling to contain online trade.

Mr Morrison has repeatedly said his government would not be intimidated by the power of social media giants who have resisted the rule, saying it goes against the fundamental principle of the free flow of information in line. Numerous Australian entities and individuals were blocked on Facebook on Thursday, a move the social media giant described as unfriendly.

The discussion with Mr. Modi is deemed as important as the Center has sought to curb major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter over free speech and the continued protest by farmers.

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