TikTok, Apple News and Instagram should be included in news media bargaining code, Greens say | Australian media

TikTok, Apple News and Instagram should be included in deals under the news media bargaining code to reflect the change in where Australians are consuming their news online, the Greens say.

“More Australians now get their news on TikTok, YouTube, Apple News and Instagram than did back in 2021 and this should be reflected in the deals done under the code,” the Greens’ media and communications spokesperson, senator Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

On Friday, Meta announced it would not enter into new payment deals with news publishers in Australia after the current deals expire later this year.

The previous agreements, worth millions of dollars to news outlets over the past three years, were a compromise for Meta to avoid being forced into negotiations with news companies under the news media bargaining code. A company could be fined 10% of its Australian revenue if it refused to negotiate.

The assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, and the communications minister, Michelle Rowland, condemned the decision as a dereliction of the company’s responsibility to Australia, and advised publishers the government would take all steps available under the news media bargaining code to make Meta pay for news.

Meta has defended its decision, stating just 3% of Facebook usage in Australia is related to news. The original agreements covered Facebook but did not include other Meta properties including Instagram.

Hanson-Young said any push from the government to get digital platforms to make deals under the news media bargaining code should include more than just Facebook and Google.

“Given the huge profits that companies like TikTok, YouTube, Apple News and Instagram are making off of Australian users sharing Australian news content, they should all be considered for designation alongside Facebook.”

Hanson-Young said the government should bring forward its 2025 planned review of the code to consider which platforms should be added.

“The Albanese government has been extremely slow to act on the wider media reform that is desperately needed to protect public interest journalism in Australia. With an election not far away, they are running out of time to achieve any genuine reform in this term of parliament.”

Jones did not directly address questions about whether Apple News, as well as Instagram and other Meta properties, would be covered but said he had “sought advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Treasury on the next steps under the news media bargaining code”.

Jones said he had met with TikTok to discuss the code and “conveyed the government’s firm position that Australian news businesses should be compensated for the work that they produce, and which platforms benefit from”.

TikTok last week declined to comment on its participation in the code. Meta declined to comment. Guardian Australia has sought comment from Apple.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s report on news access last year found one in five Australians access news through social media, up from 17% in 2022. Seventy per cent said they had accessed news on Facebook in the previous seven days, followed by 37% for YouTube and 31% for Instagram.

Younger demographics were more likely to have social media as their main source of news, with 46% of 18-24-year-olds stating they got their news primarily from social media.

Nine, Seven West, News Corp, the ABC and Guardian Australia are not currently on the list of registered media organisations under the code to negotiate with designated platforms if it reaches that stage. This is owing to the fact that these companies were able to negotiate deals with Google and Meta in 2021 without going through the full news media bargaining code process.


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