Google (GOOGL) - Get Report has threatened to disable its search engine in Australia if it’s forced to pay local publishers for news - something that is currently being contemplated by lawmakers as a way to protect local media providers.
A proposed law, intended to compensate publishers for the value their stories generate for the company, is “unworkable,” Mel Silva, managing director for Australia and New Zealand, told a parliamentary hearing Friday. She specifically opposed the requirement that Google pay media companies for displaying snippets of articles in search results.
Google's threat is a dramatic escalation in a months-long standoff with the Australian government, which said the legislation was designed to support the local media industry, which includes Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Facebook (FB) - Get Report, the only other company targeted by the legislation, also opposes the law. The social media giant reiterated at Friday’s hearing that it's considering blocking Australians from sharing news on Facebook if the law is pushed through.