ACCC code sees Google pause Australian rollout of News Showcase

Google has paused the Australian rollout of News Showcase, which is a news-based service pitched by the company as benefiting both publishers and readers.

News Showcase was only announced earlier this month, and when it was initially launched in Germany and Brazil, CEO Sundar Pichai explained the platform was aimed at paying publishers to “create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience”.

Although Google said it signed several agreements with Australian publishers for News Showcase in June, it has decided to pause its Australian plans as it is not sure if the product would be viable under the impending media bargaining code of practice published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Google has held firm that it is against the News Media Bargaining Code, saying previously it would force the tech giant to provide users with a “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube”, which could lead to data being handed over to “big news businesses, and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia”.

“The agreements we have signed in Australia and around the world show that not only are we willing to pay to license news content for a new product, but that we are able to strike deals with publishers without the draft code’s onerous and prescriptive bargaining framework and one-sided arbitration model,” Google wrote in a blog post penned by Australia and New Zealand VP Mel Silva.

“We don’t oppose a code, and a system for resolving disputes between parties. But the arbitration system outlined in the draft is unworkable.”

The code, as drafted, adopts a model based on negotiation, mediation, and arbitration to “best facilitate genuine commercial bargaining between parties, allowing commercially negotiated outcomes suited to different business models used by Australian news media businesses”.

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Twitter Expands Rollout of Voice Tweets Feature for iOS Users

Twitter says it’s making its voice tweets feature available to more users on iOS. Launched in June for a limited number of users, voice tweets is designed to allow people to tweet with their voice, sending voice-based messages instead of text.


Voice tweets can be created by opening up the tweet composer and tapping the new wavelengths icon. A screen then opens with a user’s Twitter icon, which can be tapped to begin a recording.

Twitter users can capture up to 140 seconds of audio, but continuous recording is possible and longer audio will create multiple voice tweets.

Listening to a voice tweet can be done by tapping on the image in the Twitter timeline. On iOS, playback starts in an audio player that’s docked at the bottom of the timeline so users can continue to scroll through Twitter.


Since their arrival on iOS, voice tweets have been criticized for lacking accessibility in the form of audio transcriptions. That criticism led Twitter employees to reveal they’d been asked to volunteer their time on top of their usual work to focus on accessibility.

The ensuing flak led Twitter to tell The Verge that it was exploring how to build a “more dedicated group” to focus on accessibility, and the company has since announced new two teams in that vein. Twitter subsequently said it plans to add automated captions to audio and video on the platform by “early 2021.”

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