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Microsoft Wants USA To Copy Australia’s Controversial Media Code

Microsoft’s president Brad Smith has asked the US government to follow in Australia’s footsteps and enforce a stricter media code to regulate giants such as Google and Facebook.

Smith, who has served as Microsoft’s chief legal counsel, says the US should ‘copy’ the legislation in order to rebalance the power between tech companies and news outlet.

He argued Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code is key to protect democracy and stated Microsoft is ‘willing to live by these rules if the government designates us’.

“The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead,” Smith wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft’s Brad Smith

Microsoft also said it was even willing to sacrifice profits in order to protect public interest journalism and is more than ready to replace Google as Australia’s premier search engine.

“Microsoft’s Bing search service has less than 5% market share in Australia, substantially smaller than the 15-20% market share that we have across PC and mobile searches in the United States and the 10-15% share we have in Canada and the United Kingdom. But, with a realistic prospect of gaining usage share, we are confident we can build the service Australians want and need,” Smith said.

Smith also described Australia’s proposed code as ‘innovative’ and praised the ideas as being ‘straightforward’.

“Dominant tech properties like Facebook and Google will need to invest in transparency, explaining how they display news content and providing advance notice of algorithmic or advertising changes that are likely to have a significant effect on their sites’ referral traffic to news content,” he added.

Microsoft’s support comes after Google threatened to pull its search engine out of Australia entirely if the code goes ahead.

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