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Google threatens to remove search engine from Australia

Lke Facebook, Google is fighting a proposed code that would require tech giants to share revenue with news publishers.

Google Australia news search page
Google is threatening to duck out of Australia.
David Gray/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Google on Friday threatened to remove its search engine from Australia as the country attempts to make into law a code that would force tech companies to share royalties with news publishers.

Australia is aiming to pass the law to help finance its struggling publishing industry, which is suffering due to a decline in advertising revenue. Lawmakers argue that tech giants such as Google and Facebook profit off people using their platforms to find news and that the companies should compensate newsrooms fairly.

But Google, along with Facebook, is fighting back, saying that the code, which would force companies into mediated negotiations with news publishers, is unworkable. "If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia," Google Australia's managing director, Mel Silva, told the Australian Senate, according to the BBC.

Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, reacted to Google's ultimatum by saying the country would not "respond to threats," according to the Guardian. "Let me be clear: Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia," he said.

In threatening to strip Australia of its most widely used search engine, Google is following in the footsteps of Facebook, which last August threatened to remove news from its platforms in the country.

Google didn't respond to a request for further comment.