Microsoft wants tech giants in EU to pay for sharing news

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Microsoft has announced that it supports the move to charge tech giants in the EU for news shared on their platforms. In doing so, it joins a coalition of European media companies.

With this, Microsoft is aiming at a similar system as the Australian government uses in its country. That country got into a fight with Facebook and Google when it introduced regulations that would force tech giants to pay for text copied from news sources. Even copying the title and snippets of text to serve as search results would require the companies to pay.

Microsoft is in favour

Microsoft is an outspoken advocate of such legislation and encourages both the US and the EU to introduce similar legislation. The European Publishers Council writes in a message on its website that the organisation is working with Microsoft to ensure that publishers are paid by companies that take over their content. The organisation refers directly to Australia’s approach.

It is striking that Microsoft is backing the publishers. The company has often spoken out in favour of protecting journalism. On the other hand, Microsoft is desperately trying to gain market share from Google with its Bing search engine. If Google withdraws from a market, Microsoft can take advantage of this.

Facebook and Google in protest

According to Google, such legislation is unworkable and Facebook is clearly no fan of it either. Google responded by removing Australian media from its search results, which immediately saw much less traffic on their websites. Facebook made it impossible to share news on its platform.

After extensive negotiations, Australia and the tech giants have now reached an agreement. In a few days’ time, Facebook will again add the possibility of sharing links to news articles on its platform. Further details about the agreement have not been shared.

Tip: EU and Big Tech companies push back February 1 hearing by two months