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Australia closer to passing watershed Google, Facebook laws

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Colin Packham
·1 min read
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By Colin Packham

CANBERRA, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Australia's lawmakers onTuesday inched closer to passing landmark laws that would forceFacebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google to paynews outlets for content and could set a precedent for tighterregulation in other nations.

The country is on course to become the first to introducelaws that challenge big technology firms' dominance in the newscontent market, with Canada and Britain considering similarmoves.

Under a global spotlight, Australian senators resumeddebating the proposal already endorsed by the parliament's lowerhouse.

The government does not have a majority in the Senate,though the country's opposition Labor party has said it willsupport the legislation despite loud protests from the techgiants.

Facebook has taken the most hardline approach amid concernsabout the global precedent such laws might set for otherjurisdictions.

The social media giant last week blocked all news contentand several state government and emergency departmentaccounts.

In contrast, Google has signed a series of content dealswith Australian media companies.

Australia, however, has vowed no further amendments will bemade and the legislation is expected to be endorsed by thecountry's Senate on Tuesday.(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes)