Facebook Blocks Australia from Viewing or Sharing Any News

Facebook is blocking Australian publishers from sharing news with their audiences.

The social media giant has been at war with the Australian government over a proposed law that would make Facebook pay media companies to host their news on the platform.

Facebook refused to listen to the Australian government, and instead threatened to stop Austrailian from access to reading and sharing news.

The company followed through with that threat.

“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,” Facebook said in a blog post.

The proposed Australian law also asks Google to pay for hosting links in its search engine. According to Facebook, that will work for Google but not for them.

“Our platforms have fundamentally different relationships with news. Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content,” Facebook said.

“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,” the statement continued.

According to Facebook, the site made 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers in 2020 alone. That is worth over $400 million.

“We’ve long worked toward rules that would encourage innovation and collaboration between digital platforms and news organisations,” Facebook said. “Unfortunately this legislation does not do that. Instead it seeks to penalize 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.”

In Australia, people will not be able to view or share Australian or international news content. People overseas will not be able to view or share any content on Facebook that has been published in Australia.

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