In the midst of a tense situation, Facebook has blocked all news in the country of Australia, preventing users and companies from sharing or viewing news from the social network.
The company announced the move after failing to find a “solution” in talks with the Australian government, which is pushing for legislation to make Facebook pay local media for news links shared on its page.
“The proposed law fundamentally misinterprets the relationship between our platform and the publishers who use it to share news content,” said William Easton, Facebook’s managing director in Australia and New Zealand, in a blog post.
“It has left us faced with a tough choice: try to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With heavy hearts, we are choosing the latter.”
The company says the federal government and the proposed law “seek to penalize Facebook for content that it did not take or request.”
“Unfortunately this means that people and news organizations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook.
Likewise, globally, it is also restricted to publish and share news links from Australian publishers and even foreign news cannot be seen in the country.
Changes to Sharing and Viewing News on Facebook in Australia https://t.co/ePpPWE65Ns
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) February 17, 2021
A duel in which Google can also get hurt
The proposal to pay the media has been raised since 2019, when Australia asked the companies to negotiate a voluntary agreement with the companies to use their content. As there could be no agreement, the country’s Communications and Media Authority began the path of forging a law.
Media companies, including News Corp Australia, lobbied hard for the government to force US companies to the negotiating table amid a long decline in advertising revenue.
This pressure is the one that is becoming reality today and that will affect another like Google, who will also now have to pay in countries like France, to index notes in their search engine.
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