Whether Australia caved or Facebook caved seems to hinge on some rather subtle distinctions (and what you wanted to believe to begin with). But the fact that Facebook and Google will not be covered by the new law is not exactly a victory.
The Australian PR message is basically “we wrote such a staggering terrible law that the people it was aimed at paid to avoid being covered by it”. That doesn’t sound like a great way to make policy.
Wait - so does this mean that Bing now has to pay newspapers a fee every time they show up in search, the way they promised, while Google (and Facebook don’t)? That would be hilarious
But any way you cut it, Google and Facebook said that it would be impossible for them to do business if they were covered by this law, and the government has now said ‘okay then, you won’t be’

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More from @benedictevans

23 Feb
Clubhouse has killed half the conference panel market
Clubhouse is adding ticket sales and tips. But the people on the panels weren’t being paid. Do panels become a decentralised business or do they just become free to listen to? Is Clubhouse Napster for events?
Events are a bundle - speakers, panels, networking, parties, and lots of side meetings. And they’re a bundle of the people, at a time and place. I don’t think that all goes online as a ‘virtual event’ - it gets formulated in completely different ways
Read 4 tweets
22 Feb
The more that California/EU/Apple/Chrome crack down on tracking, the harder it is for anyone other than Google/FB/Amazon (and maybe the NYT) to make anything that advertisers want to buy. Especially newspapers.
We used to sell by putting an ad in a newspaper and hoping someone interested would see it.
Now you can show an ad to someone who searched for your product (Google/Amazon), or who talks about it and looks at pictures of it (FB). And then we wonder why advertisers prefer this.
Nothing in Australia, not in the EU, not in any of the books talking about 'Big tech', proposes any mechanism to change that - generally, they intensify it.
Read 5 tweets
21 Feb
A meta-observation: almost all the tech people I follow that hate Facebook and think it's absolute evil also think it did the right thing in Australia (barring it screw-up in blocking news that's not news.)
)This is a useful litmus test - does someone endorse a terrible, incoherent and irrational law, that undermines the whole basis of the web, because today it’s being aimed at people they hate?)
Three principles 1: don’t endorse a terrible law because it hurts people you hate and helps people you like
Read 5 tweets
20 Feb
Netflix spent $15bn on content last year. The BBC's total content budget was $3bn.
US content budgets were always bigger (bigger market!) but they've exploded in recent years. And in the past they sold the output to UK broadcasters, but now they go direct
Netflix and Amazon are now spending as much on original content as any of the traditional US media companies. And going direct.
On some measures Netflix is spending more on content than ALL broadcasters in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy combined.
Read 4 tweets
20 Feb
Yes. Stands on principle. "You can't make people pay you to link to you" is about as basic a principle of the web as you can possibly get. FB could have copied Google, fudged a 'news showcase' and bunged the newspapers $50-100m. That would be the pragmatic path
Google has now signalled that every newspaper on earth should try to squeeze a payout from them, while FB has taken a huge PR hit in saying no, links are free.
Meanwhile, anyone anywhere on earth who is thinking of a new social app will now start from the presumption that they should not under any circumstances let people share links to news. (What - you thought this was just about 'big tech'?)
Read 5 tweets
19 Feb
US 2020 ecommerce numbers are out. Three years of growth in three quarters: ecommerce share rose from 17% in Q4 2019 to 20% in Q4 2020
If you treat food sales separately, since that needs such a different logistics model, ecommerce was 25% of US retail.
This puts the UK a big step head of the USA: after some deep lockdowns, UK ecommerce is now 30% of retail (and 40% excluding groceries)
Read 4 tweets

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