Facebook Threatens To Ban Australians From Sharing News
Facebook's Australian arm has raised eyebrows across the country after claiming it would stop publishers and users from being able to share and produce news on the platform.
It follows the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission releasing the first version of a news media bargaining code, which would make Facebook and Google pay publishers to host their content.
The code says the two tech giants would have three months to sort out a bargaining agreement with each publisher on how much they would be paid. If that isn't reached then an independent arbitrator would be brought in to made it official.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook isn't a big fan of the idea and its Australian managing director Will Easton said the code doesn't understand 'the dynamic of the internet'.
"Assuming this draft code becomes law, we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram. This is not our first choice - it is our last," Mr Easton said.
"We already invest millions of dollars in Australian news businesses and, during discussions over this legislation, we offered to invest millions more. We had also hoped to bring Facebook News to Australia, a feature on our platform exclusively for news, where we pay publishers for their content.
"But these proposals were overlooked. Instead, we are left with a choice of either removing news entirely or accepting a system that lets publishers charge us for as much content as they want at a price with no clear limits. Unfortunately, no business can operate that way."
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The code was unveiled in June and Google didn't waste time in hitting back against it.
In an open letter to its users (which, you can imagine, would be the majority of Australia), Google said: "A proposed law, the News Media Bargaining Code, would force us to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube, could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses, and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia.
"The law would force us to give an unfair advantage to one group of businesses - news media businesses - over everyone else who has a website, YouTube channel or small business."
The ACCC said the new code wouldn't force Australians to pay for content that is currently free and users' data won't be shared with news organisations unless Google wants to.
The code is being pushed by the Federal government in the hope that it will 'increase competition, strengthen consumer protection and ensure the sustainability of our media landscape'.
The government hasn't ruled out making other big tech giants pay publishers for content.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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