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PM brushes off Facebook and Google threats

Scott Morrison has brushed off a campaign from Facebook and Google against proposed news bargaining laws.

Facebook is threatening to remove news articles from Australian feeds, while Google has said it would downgrade its search engine and YouTube services if the mandatory code is legislated.

The prime minister said he had met with senior executives from both internet giants, including the head of Google last week.

“I think people from these companies understand that when I say something I mean it and that I intend to follow through with it,” he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

“And therefore I would encourage them, very strongly, to work constructively and cooperatively with the process that is under way.”

Mr Morrison is confident a “sensible” outcome can be reached.

“It won’t need coercion – wherever it comes from – it’s not something I respond very well to,” he said.

Google said in a blog post on Monday it did not object to the idea of a code governing relationships between digital platforms and news businesses.

“We have already made agreements to pay publishers for content through a licencing program and several Australian publishers have come on board,” it said.

“But what we don’t agree with is a law that’s totally unworkable from a product and business perspective.”

Google said the drop in revenue for news companies had largely been at the hands of online classifieds businesses.

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