Big Tech vs. the news

Category : Technology/Innovations

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. bang for the buck / bæŋ fər ðə bʌk / (idiom) – value in return for money spent

    I recommend this laptop; it gives you the best bang for the buck.

  2. make up for (something) / meɪk ʌp fɔr / (phrasal v.) – to do something to replace another thing that was lost, damaged, etc.

    I’ll work extra hours tomorrow to make up for the time I missed yesterday.

  3. shortfall / ˈʃɔrtˌfɔl / (n.) – a failure to reach the expected or needed amount, target, etc.

    Many computer and car manufacturers are concerned about the worsening chip shortfall.

  4. elsewhere / ˈɛlsˌwɛər / (adv.) – in, on, or at another place

    If the restaurant’s full, we can have dinner elsewhere.

  5. bluff / blʌf / (n.) – an attempt to make another person believe that one will do something without any intention of really doing it

    He said he’d quit his job if he didn’t get a raise, but it was only a bluff.


Read the text below.

The Australian government is in the middle of a fight with Big Tech companies Google and Facebook over the future of news in Australia. What’s it all about?

In two words: advertising money. In the digital age, advertisers have increasingly shifted to Google and Facebook, which give them more bang for the buck than news sites.

With their advertising revenue falling off a cliff, and desperate to grow their reader base, news companies can’t refuse to sell stories to Google and Facebook.

On the other hand, the amount the tech giants pay doesn’t make up for the ad shortfall.

For every ad dollar spent in Australia, around 30 cents goes to Google and Facebook, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Both sides need each other: Google and Facebook need news providers’ content; news providers need Google and Facebook to point readers their way.

That should add up to a win-win situation that sees news sites getting paid what they’re worth. But the tech giants are in a much stronger bargaining position: If a news site doesn’t give them content, they can simply look elsewhere.

The Australian commission wants to introduce a code to make sure that the country’s media companies are not at a disadvantage when they bargain with Google and Facebook.

“The aim of the code is to address the uneven bargaining position between Australian news media businesses and the big digital platforms who have clear market power,” said Rod Sims, the commission’s chairman.

The two tech firms are fighting back in the war of words, threatening to withdraw from Australia. This may be an empty bluff, but other countries are sure to be watching what happens in Australia very closely. (T)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Google and Facebook are threatening to withdraw from Australia. Do you agree that this is just a bluff, or do you think they’ll really do it? Why? Discuss.
  • Some people have decided to boycott Google and Facebook over their treatment of news sites. Do you think it’s easy to boycott these two companies? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • For every ad dollar spent in Australia, around 30 cents goes to Google and Facebook. Do you think this is fair? If not, how many cents do you think they should receive for every ad dollar spent (ex. 5 cents, 50 cents)? Why? Discuss.
  • The article says that news providers need Google and Facebook to point readers their way. Do you agree, or do you think most people read news directly from news sites without googling it or seeing it on social media first? Why? Discuss.
Category : Technology/Innovations