Making Big Tech Pay for the News They Use

22 July 2022
By Courtney C. Radsch
Facebook on smartphone
Woman holds smart phone with facebook application on the screen. facebook is a photo-sharing app for smartphones. Credit: Jirapong Manustrong /
This report was originally published on the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and is republished with permission.

As policymakers around the world consider how to rebalance the relationship between Big Tech and the news industry, it is imperative that they take a global view and consider the implications for independent news outlets in developing and low-income countries. Pioneering laws and policies like Australia’s 2021 News Media Bargaining Code and the European Union’s 2021 Digital Copyright Directive, which compel platforms to pay for the news they use, have inspired publishers globally and spurred other countries to pursue similar policies. This report examines three types of policy interventions: taxing digital advertising, empowering news media to collectively bargain with Big Tech, and requiring tech platforms to pay licensing fees for using news content. It finds that implementing any of these approaches is not just about political will, but also about institutional design, legitimacy, and trust.

Read more: Facebook restricts Australian news sites

Key findings

– Facebook and Google have a duopoly on the digital ad market, leaving news outlets struggling to generate revenue from online content.

– To effectively design policies monetizing digital news content, more research is needed on the link between referral traffic and news site revenues.

– Successfully implementing similar policies in developing economies requires strong institutions and professional associations that can represent media outlets, facilitate bargaining, and independently manage and monitor distribution of revenues.