Facebook To Block News Sharing From Australia As Government Asks Platform To Pay For Local Publishers' Content

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Facebook To Block News Sharing From Australia As Government Asks Platform To Pay For Local Publishers' Content

Photo: Facebook's vice president for global news partnerships, Campbell Brown, left and Treasurer of Australia and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Josh Frydenberg, right.


Facebook plans to block news stories from being shared on its platform by Australian users. The move comes as the social media giant seeks to fight back against a law proposed in Australia that will see Facebook and other social media networks be required to pay media firms for their articles.


The Australian parliament proposes that forcing Facebook to pay firms will mean journalists are properly compensated and that it will stop the spread of 'fake news', or potentially news that any current government disagrees with. An extreme worry for those who value free-speech and journalistic plurality.


Facebook says it will simply block all news from being shared on the media site in protest at the demands of the Australian government.


Facebook's vice president for global news partnerships, Campbell Brown, said on the matter:


This is a decision we're making reluctantly. It is the only way to protect against an outcome that will hurt, not help Australia's media outlets.


In response, Australia Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated:


We don't respond to coercion or heavy-handed threats wherever they come from.


He then defended the government proposals saying it would create:


A more sustainable media landscape.


Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch, who is Australian, has long been trying to get Facebook and other sites to pay for news, even though his business reaches millions of people through these platforms almost completely free of charge (Facebook says it had 2.2 billion clicks from Australians to media sites in the first 5 months of 2020). Murdoch owns Fox News and Sky Television and some of the most read newspapers in the world.


Hardly the small news media outlets that the Australian government is claiming it is helping with the law.


Some suggest that Facebook, by blocking news stories, could lessen its appeal to Australian users. That said, it is unlikely that if Facebook stopped sharing news media that individuals would suddenly start buying newspapers again or that they would watch more TV news instead of simply getting news from elsewhere on the internet.


Whatever pushback emerges, it seems as though it is journalists and media corporations that are going to have to change, as it seems highly unlikely that technology and social-media is going to suddenly pop back into its box and return the news media landscape to the days-of-old.

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Thinking Humanity: Facebook To Block News Sharing From Australia As Government Asks Platform To Pay For Local Publishers' Content
Facebook To Block News Sharing From Australia As Government Asks Platform To Pay For Local Publishers' Content
Facebook plans to block news stories from being shared on its platform by Australian users. The move comes as the social media giant seeks to fight back against a law proposed in Australia that will see Facebook and other social media networks be required to pay media firms for their articles. The Australian parliament proposes that forcing Facebook to pay firms will mean journalists are properly compensated and that it will stop the spread of 'fake news', or potentially news that any current government disagrees with. An extreme worry for those who value free-speech and journalistic plurality.
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