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The huge mistake the govt made in regard to FB & Google and extracting money from them for news is that they allowed themselves to be trapped in news media's view of the world, most especially News Ltd's view.
They're seeing like a media company instead of seeing like a govt
This completely distorts the nature of what G & F are, and it means that the govt is imposing the wrong sort of regulation.
To understand the nature of the mistake, you have to rid yourself of a number of self-serving myths perpetuated by the media.
First, F&G are not stealing advertising from the news media: they are providing a better advertising product
Most of the advertising market they dominate they created.
F&G are mainstreet. News media sites are side streets.
Why would anyone put their billboard on the side street?
Next, F&G do not rely on news media for content. It is a tiny % of their content.
In FB's case it's barely 4% .
On the other hand, most news orgs RELY on the traffic that F&G send to their sites: it can account for anywhere between 10&60% of their traffic
There is therefore a very strong argument that F&G owe the media nothing. That they are a net benefit to those companies.
This is also why F&G will be happy to walk away from providing news content on their platforms.
They simply don't need it.
It is only when you buy into the false premise that F&G are stealing ad revenue and content from media orgs that you can convince yourself this regulatory approach is right.
And that's exactly what the govt's done, under the influence of the media itself.
None of this is to say that F&G are the good guys in all this. They aren't. They are hideous, anti-democratic, tax-dodging behemoths who abuse their power in nearly every jurisdiction in which they exist.
And that's how the govt should treat them.
As anti-democratic behemoths
⬅️In my last book, I presented the case for breaking them up, taxing them differently, or even nationalising them. All of those things treat them as what they are.
Whereas the govt's approach is to treat as something they aren't.
No wonder we can't have nice things.
Unless the Morrison govt stops seeing F&G through the eyes of their mates at News Ltd, they are never going solve this problem. As former boss of ninemsn (and one the smartest guys in this space) @halcrawford has said:…
As Crawford continues, do that & then maybe we can redistribute the money in a way that supports the sort of journalism a functioning democracy requires.

But none of that happens until the govt starts to look at the problem like a govt & not as a proxy for the news media.
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