Facebook will block Australian users and publishers from sharing news links in response to the new bill

Facebook has decided to ban both Australian users and media companies from sharing links to news articles and related content on its main social network, following the country’s proposal. Prominent regulatory action It would force tech giants to pay Australian news organizations to use their content.

The Bill The Australian House of Representatives passed today and is believed to have enough votes to pass the Senate, New York times mentioned. The bill also targets Google, which was at one point last month He threatened to leave the country completely. However, Google has since decided to start doing deals with major Australian media organizations, such as Robert Murdoch News Corp., To comply. It looks like Facebook won’t follow suit – for now.

“The proposed law misunderstands the relationship between our platform and the publishers who use it to share news content,” it states Blog post From William Easton, Managing Director of Facebook Australia and New Zealand. “We are left with a stark choice: try to comply with a law that ignores the facts of this relationship, or to stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we choose the latter.”

The policy change from Facebook will have dire consequences for both users and media organizations. Easton’s blog post identifies four distinct categories that will be affected and in what ways:

  • Australian Publishers: “They are prohibited from sharing or posting any content on Facebook Pages. Admins will still be able to access other features of their Facebook Page, including Page Insights and Creator Studio. We will continue to provide access to all other Facebook standard services, including Data Tools and CrowdTangle. ”
  • International Publishers: “They can continue to post news content on Facebook, but Australian audiences cannot view or share links and posts.”
  • Australian users: “They may not view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news pages.”
  • International users: “They cannot view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news pages.”
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Facebook says it uses “a mixture of technologies” to restrict news content and will have processes for reviewing content that was inadvertently removed, although it does not participate in those processes at this time. It also says the news content changes will not affect any of the company’s other products or services in Australia.

Easton’s blog post states that Facebook saw this measure as a last resort. The company cites statistics, such as how news content makes up less than 4 percent of what people see in its news feed and how Facebook paid an estimated A $ 407 million in referrals to Australian news publishers, as reasons for feeling the bill unfairly penalizes tech platforms.

Facebook also distinguishes how news publishers and readers access news content on its social network versus Google’s search engine. “Google search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily submit their content. On the other hand, publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, because it allows them to sell more subscriptions, increase their audience and increase advertising revenue,” Easton argues.

“We were ready to launch Facebook News in Australia and significantly increase our investment with local publishers, however, we were only prepared to do so with the correct rules in place,” Easton continues. “This legislation sets a precedent whereby the government decides who enters into these news content agreements and, ultimately, the amount that the party that actually receives value from the free service charges. We will now be prioritizing investments in other countries, as part of our plans to invest in new news programs and experiences to license .

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