As we know, Australia is proposing to create a level playing field for the media because they believe that Facebook and Google have too much influence and power in the sector. Essentially, they want to stop them from controlling the channels through which Australians consume news.
Now, in an eye-watering, extraordinary act of what looks a lot like hypocrisy on the grandest of scales, the US is putting pressure on Australia to drop this law because, according to Joseph Waring over at Mobile World Live, the ‘the Office of [the] US Trade Representative expressed concern over the competitive impact on the US companies.’
We had to read that twice, too.
The US is about to join horns with big tech to restrict and control its influence and power over the market – because the companies are anti-competitive. It is set to be a struggle at the highest level. Big tech has already landed the first punches. Meanwhile, antitrust suits worldwide are, drop by drop, adding to the pressure on Facebook, Google and the rest to curb their power.
Whether you believe that Australia’s approach is right or wrong, you have to agree that this is a specific area that Australia has identified as being anti-competitive and, therefore, a good place to start. After all, it is a lot more specific than simply breaking out the shotgun and blasting away on the premise that these companies are too big and therefore, must be smothering competition.
You have to wonder whether this is another last gasp swipe at, well, anything that moves in Asia by the outgoing US administration or something else. And you probably then wonder ‘why Australia,’ why not India or Indonesia? Is it, just possibly, that Australia is far enough away that no-one (except Joseph Waring) will notice the US meddling in the affairs of others.
Whatever the reason for this, it is not news that makes any more sense of the world as it stands today. In fact, the complete opposite.