Malaysia is contemplating the introduction of regulations that would mandate tech giants like Google and Meta/Facebook, to compensate news outlets for content sourced from them. This was revealed in a statement by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) following meetings with representatives from both tech companies.
Drawing Inspiration from International Precedents
The proposed regulations are set to mirror those implemented in Australia in 2021, which obligated Google and Meta to remunerate media outlets for content that attracts clicks and ad revenue. The MCMC also mentioned considering rules akin to Canada's Bill C-11, which seeks to regulate streaming platforms and mandates them to support Canadian content.
In Australia, the News Media Bargaining Code is a law forces tech giants to reach deals with news outlets regarding remuneration when they link them in feeds and on their services. Google and Facebook have been vocal critics of the legislation, while Microsoft was supportive.
Addressing Digital Market Challenges
The MCMC emphasized that these rules are a part of broader governmental initiatives to rectify “imbalances” in earnings between digital platforms and local media. The objective is to ensure “fair compensation for news content creators,” as stated by the MCMC. The commission is also engaging with social media platforms to tackle online threats, including child exploitation material, online gambling, and financial scams.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who assumed office in November, Malaysia has intensified its oversight of online content. Earlier in the year, the nation contemplated legal action against Meta due to the company's perceived inaction against harmful content on its platform. However, this plan was subsequently abandoned after discussions with the tech giant.
Both Meta and Google have previously expressed reservations about similar legislation in other countries. For instance, in response to Canada's Online News Act, Google's president of global affairs, Kent Walker, said in a blog post that the Act “remains unworkable” and would subject the company to “uncapped financial liability.” He further elaborated that the Canadian government hasn't provided Google with reasons to believe that the regulatory process would address “structural issues” with the legislation.
Beyond the issue of compensating news creators, the MCMC views this move as the commencement of a “revolution in AI technology.” The commission recognizes the significance of this technology and aspires to establish guidelines for its fair and judicious implementation. This encompasses fostering fair competition, protecting intellectual property rights, and safeguarding consumers from online threats and privacy breaches.