By Palak Chhabra
Amid growing worldwide outrage over Facebook blacking out news and media content for its users in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reached out to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to gain support in creating a global coalition against tech giants Google and Facebook to make the social media giant pay for sharing content from media organizations. The discussion also revolved around COVID-19 and a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“As Comprehensive Strategic Partners, we can work together on common challenges including COVID19, the circular economy, oceans & an open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We also discussed progress of our media platform bill,” tweeted PM Morrison.The tweet was followed by PM Modi’s reiteration of commitment to consolidating the two countries’ Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and working together for peace, prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific.
Australia v/s social media giants
“Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing. I am in regular contact with the leaders of other nations on these issues,” said PM Morrison.“These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them. They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it”, added Mr Morrison.
Along with India, Australia has also sought backing from the UK, France and Canada as well. It is to be noted that while Google has agreed to pay news organizations in Australia, Facebook has decided to black out news content from the country on its social networking platform.Canada, while condemning Facebook’s actions in Australia, is likely to support the Australian model for seeking allies in the campaign against tech giants.
Implications on India
The Australia v/s Facebook debate could have an implication on India’s digital economy, the world’s second largest online news consuming nation after China. In such a scenario, creating a global coalition in a much balanced and diplomatic manner could further interests of some nations in particular.
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