Tech superpower Google is under criticism as they revealed that it blocked some Australian news websites from search results as part of an “experiment.” Critics refer to it as a “chilling illustration” of the company’s monopoly on internet searches.
Business Insider reports that Google is now facing heavy criticism after revealing that they removed local new content from its search results in Australia as part of an “experiment.”
This is the latest incident between Google and the Australian government, which is currently reviewing a proposal that would make companies like Google and Facebook to pay local news stations for their content.
Google made a statement after the law was proposed, warning that “the way Aussies search every day on Google is at risk.” On Wednesday, Google said that it has been “running a few experiments that will each reach about 1% of Google Search users in Australia.”
The Australian Financial Review reported that Google had altered its algorithm to hide links from major Australian news providers. Google confirmed the alteration but added that it runs “tens of thousands of experiments” every year.
Nine, the publisher of Sydney Morning Herald, told the Guardian in a statement: “Google is an effective monopoly and by withholding access to such timely, accurate and important information they show clearly how they impact what access Australians have to that. At the same time, Google are now demonstrating how easily they can make Australian news providers who fall out of their favour effectively disappear from the internet – a chilling illustration of their extraordinary market power.”
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said to reporters: “The digital giants should focus on paying for original content, not blocking it. That’s my message to those digital giants. We have again introduced legislation that’s now before a Senate committee to put in place a world-leading mandatory code to see those digital giants pay traditional news media businesses a fair sum of money for generating original content.”
A company spokesperson said: “Every year we conduct tens of thousands of experiments in Google Search. We’re currently running a few experiments that will each reach about 1% of Google Search users in Australia to measure the impacts of news businesses and Google Search on each other. In 2018, the value we provided to publishers through referral traffic alone was estimated at $218 million dollars.”
Google plans to end the so-called ‘experiment’ in February.