Facebook Is Blocking Australians From Viewing Or Sharing Local, National And International News
Facebook will block Australian publishers from sharing their news with their audiences.
The social media company has been warring with the Australian government over a proposed law that would force Facebook to pay media companies to host their news on the site.
Facebook threatened it would not bow to the wishes of the Morrison administration and instead would just stop Aussies from being able to read and share news.
The company has now followed through with that threat.
In a blog post, Facebook has announced it will make changes that will drastically affect the way Aussies consume news.
"The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.
"It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter."
The proposed law would also ask Google to pay for hosting links in its search engine, and Facebook says that's fine for Google, but not for them.
"Our platforms have fundamentally different relationships with news," the blog post said. "Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content.
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"On the other hand, publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audiences and increase advertising revenue."
Facebook says it made 5.1 billion free referrals to Aussie publishers in 2020 alone, which is worth more than $400 million.
The social media company has criticised the Australian government for not trying to create a more collaborative approach, rather than make them pay.
"We've long worked toward rules that would encourage innovation and collaboration between digital platforms and news organisations," the company said. "Unfortunately this legislation does not do that. Instead it seeks to penalise Facebook for content it didn't take or ask for.
"Unfortunately, this means people and news organisations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook.
"Globally, posting and sharing news links from Australian publishers is also restricted."
People will not be able to view or share Australian or international news content in Australia on Facebook and people overseas won't be able to view or share any content on Facebook that has been published in Australia.
Facebook recognises that many people get important information about the coronavirus pandemic from news publishers on the social media site and they will still be able to get that at the COVID-19 Information Centre.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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