Marketing 2 min read

Report: Google Blocking Australian News in Search

Mitchell Luo / Unsplash.com

Mitchell Luo / Unsplash.com

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, Google has admitted to blocking some Australian news sites in Search.

If you frequent some Australian news sites, you may have noticed that some posts are no longer available on Google Search. Instead, the search engine is more likely to display old content and links.

It turns out that Google is intermittently blocking some of these news sites in Search. According to the search giant, it’s part of an experiment to determine Search’s impact on Australian news businesses.

A previous estimate from Google suggests that the company provided $218 million to publishers through referral value. So, there’s no denying that removing local news content impacts news business negatively.

Along with the Sydney Morning Herald, Google’s experiment affected a few other Australian news sites.

In a statement to Sydney Morning Herald, a spokesperson from Google said:

“We’re currently running a few experiments that will each reach about 1 per cent of Google Search users in Australia to measure the impacts of news businesses and Google Search on each other.”

According to the Google spokesperson, the experiment should end early next month. There’s just one problem.

Blocking Australian News Sites to Prove a Point?

Google’s “experiment” comes during a battle between the tech giant and the Australian government.

In a bid to force Google to pay news sites for displaying their content, the country proposed a new industry code. The code requires tech platforms to work with news publishers on a price that suits both parties.

Australia’s senate committee is examining the industry code before a final vote later this year. However, critics say that Google’s “experiment” attempts to intimidate lawmakers into voting against the code.

A spokesman for Nine, owner of the Herald and The Age, said:

“…Google are now demonstrating how easily they can make Australian news providers who fall out of their favor effectively disappear from the internet — a chilling illustration of their extraordinary market power.”

Big techs have come under increased scrutiny following the suspension of US President Donald Trump from their platforms. It raised the question of whether these companies have too much power.

Meanwhile, the search giant says that it hopes to get a fair and workable industry code before it goes to the final vote.

Read More: Googlebot Now Crawling Sites Over the new H2 Protocol

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