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More and more countries are controlling the activities of digital giants

  • On February 25, the Australian Parliament passed a law forcing digital sites such as Google and Facebook to pay local media for news content.
  • The law introduces rules for negotiations between publishers and sites, and the establishment of a government arbitration body to determine the binding rates in the event of a disagreement between them.
  • The purpose of the law is to protect publishers from abusing the dominance of digital giants and to distribute online advertising profits.

In 2018, 49 out of every 100 Australian dollars spent on online advertising went to Google and 24 to Facebook, according to the Australian regulator. Large Internet companies use content produced by local media for free, while at the same time making money by displaying it because many users only read the news content. Google and Facebook vehemently opposed the new law, arguing that it did not take into account the specific nature of the Internet.

On Thursday, February 18, Facebook blocked access to news articles in the Australian media in protest of the law. The company stressed that the new law shows a “lack of basic understanding” of its relationship with publishers. After negotiations with the Australian government, Facebook removed the content block and several amendments to the law were adopted extending the time to negotiate agreements between sites and publishers by two months. Both Google and Facebook have already signed agreements with the Australian media.

This act, which is a global pioneer, is seen as a test to introduce similar regulations in other countries. The Canadian government has already announced plans to enact similar legislation. “I think 5, 10, 15 countries will soon adopt similar solutions,” said Canadian Minister of Heritage and Culture Steven Gillebold. European publishers hope that similar regulations will be introduced throughout the EU.

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Facebook’s decision sparked outrage in Australia and beyond, and reconsidered the debate over the need to regulate digital giants.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that these measures only confirm the concerns of developing countries that big tech companies are bigger than the states and that the rules do not apply to them. Revealed by the leaders of Great Britain, Canada, France and India. David Cecil, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, commented on the move, saying it “proved that Facebook is not compatible with democracy.”

They are introducing the digital line

Although no common rules have yet been established within the EU, more and more European countries have adopted some form of digital tax over the past two years. Negotiations under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop a global tax model on international technology companies also ended in failure.

The format of the digital tax is similar in individual European countries. Revenue is levied on digital activities such as online advertising, the sale of social media user data for advertising purposes, or online brokerage. It is generally charged to companies whose global revenue for this activity is more than 7 750 million per year. In addition, digital sites must have more than a certain revenue in a particular country. The rate will vary from state to state. Due to its design, the tax is mainly applicable to large US companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

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In France, the tax rate is 3%. It is paid for by companies with revenues in France exceeding 25 million per year (in addition to the global 750 million). The same threshold for the income of taxable internet companies applies in Austria, where 5% tax is levied. Tax. In Spain and Italy, the tax rate is 3%, and in these countries the revenue from digital operations is to be paid by companies exceeding 3 3 and .5 5.5 million, respectively. In Great Britain, the tax is 2 percent. Web sites generate more than $ 500 million in global revenue and over $ 25 million in domestic revenue. The Polish tax draft for Internet advertising, released in February, estimates that global revenue will exceed 7 750 million and revenue in Poland 5 million. The rate should be 5 percent.

The policy of large Internet companies regarding the deletion of accounts and the restriction of content posted on them is also controversial around the world.

Supporters of then-US President Donald Trump attacked Capitol on January 6, Twitter was blocked, first temporarily, then permanently, The account of a politician who was the main channel for communicating with the public. Similar actions were later taken by others on Facebook And many other social media sites. The websites justified Trump’s disconnection from their services by repeatedly spreading misinformation about the 2020 presidential election in the United States and the risk of further incitement to violence.

However, these results have been criticized by many world leaders. – Donald Trump’s account Twitter closed in the last five to twelve minutes. Such a decision must be made in accordance with the law and not at the sole discretion of a company. This should be a decision made by politicians and parliamentarians, not by Silicon Valley managers, said Ursula van der Leyen, head of the European Commission. German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Twitter’s decision as “complex”, noting that “the right to freedom of expression is of fundamental importance”.

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In turn, the Mexican government has proposed a law to control censorship abuse by social media. Anyone whose account is blocked has the right to appeal against this decision, which is heard by the Telecommunications Regulator and Mexican courts. Digital sites could be fined up to $ 4.4 million for restricting free speech.

The decision by Google’s board of directors in mid-February to ban search engine results in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden was widely echoed around the world, with many, if not all, loyal workers being unreliable or dishonest to exploit people in difficult situations and charge high fees for simple services.