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Google threatens to withdraw search engine in Australia in response to law

In an open letter, Google tries to decode why the law, known as the News Media Bargaining Code—would undermine the benefits of the internet for millions of Australians.

Google is up in arms against a new law that Australia is introducing. The island continent is the first in the world to introduce a law that would make tech companies like Google and Facebook pay media outlets to publish news content on their platforms.

The BBC reports that on the flip side, the US firms are fighting back, warning the country’s lawmakers that this rule would make them withdraw some of their services.

In an open letter, Google tries to decode why the law, known as the News Media Bargaining Code—would undermine the benefits of the internet for millions of Australians. The letter attempts to explain what would happen if the law passes in its current form, and why there’s a better option for supporting Australian journalism.

The Code was originally designed to support the financial future of publishers—an important goal which we’ve committed to support. But the way it tries to achieve this would break the way Google Search works.

The open letter stresses that right now, no website or search engine pays to connect people to other sites through links. This law would change that, making Google pay to provide links for the first time in our history.

"If the law requires Google to pay to link people to websites, it’s a slippery slope. After all, if one type of business gets paid for appearing in Search, why shouldn’t others? Going down that route would destroy the business model of any search engine, Google included. And if a search engine has to pay to show links, what’s to stop links elsewhere coming with a price tag, too?" asks the tech giant.