Malaysia to ask Meta and Google to pay for news content

5 Sep 2023

Image: © rudi1976/

Following in the footsteps of Australia and Canada, Malaysia may soon require Big Tech platforms to ‘fairly compensate’ news content creators.

Malaysia is considering new regulations that will require the likes of Meta and Google to compensate news outlets for content on their platforms.

In a statement today (5 September), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said the new rules would aim to address digital market challenges such as “the imbalance in income” between digital platforms and local media.

Other challenges listed include child sexual abuse material, online gambling, content inciting “race, royalty and religious discontent”, scams and phishing, the sale and promotion of illegal drugs and prohibited substances, impersonation and the spread of disinformation and fake news.

Inspired by similar legislation in Australia and Canada, the MCMC said its latest framework would ensure “fair compensation for news content creators”.

Australia became a pioneer in this space two years ago when it passed the News Media Bargaining Code, requiring Meta (then Facebook) and Google to strike commercial deals with news outlets for using their content.

In the immediate aftermath of the law, Facebook blocked Australian news media content from appearing on its platform overnight, before eventually finding middle ground.

Similarly, Canada passed an Online News Act in June that, when in effect, will require the largest digital platforms to “bargain fairly with Canadian news businesses for the use of their news content on their services”.

Both Meta and Google objected to the legislation, and Meta even started halting news content on their platforms in the country.

Google president of global affairs Kent Walker said at the time that the Act “remains unworkable” and exposes the search giant to “uncapped financial liability”.

Walker argued that the Canadian government has not given Google reason to believe that the regulatory process will be able to resolve “structural issues” with the legislation that requires companies to pay for “simply showing links to news, something that everyone else does for free”.

In Malaysia, the latest push for fair compensation goes beyond paying news creators and “is the beginning of a revolution in AI technology”, according to the MCMC.

“[We] acknowledge the importance of this technology and aim to implement the rules of the road for its implementation for fair and wise practice. This includes plans to encourage fair competition, strengthen intellectual property rights, protecting consumers from online harms and privacy.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic