Facebook Blocks News Sharing on Australian Platform

Because of planned legislation in the country to make digital giants pay for journalism. Facebook reported Thursday that it had blocked Australians from reading and posting news on the site. Australian publications will continue to publish news material on Facebook. Australian users can not access or exchange links and posts, the U.S.-based firm said in a statement.

Whether the tech companies should pay news media for the news stories posted on their networks is at the core of the fight. Under the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s draft rule, both Google and Facebook will be forced to agree and pay media publishers for the material on their pages.

Facebook and Google have struggled hard to keep their hands from being squeezed by the Australian rule, which is likely to pass this week or next. But the two firms strongly diverged over Wednesday on how to fend off that regulatory future. Google started the day by announcing a three-year global deal to pay for the publisher’s news material for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Recently, one of many such agreements has been revealed that it seems to capitulate successfully to publishers’ demands. Hours later, Facebook took the opposite approach and announced it would limit the posting or streaming of news links in Australia by individuals and publishers, in an immediately successful move.

This Facebook statement would, of course, bring into question the integrity of the site in terms of the news on it if they were to hold this position,” Fletcher told Australian Broadcasting Corp. Facebook informs Australians the content you see on our media does not come from organizations who have editorial policy or systems of fact-checking or journalists who are paying to do the job they do,” Fletcher added. The Australian Parliament is debating draft legislation forcing Australian news to pay for the two outlets to negotiate agreements. The proposed laws will be considered by the Senate after the House of Representatives passed them late Wednesday.

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All platforms have criticized the proposed regulations as unworkable. Google has also challenged the nation with the elimination of its search engine. But under its own News Spotlight model, Google is negotiating pay agreements with Australian news media firms. Seven West Media became the most prominent Australian news media corporation on Monday, signing a deal with Google to pay for journalism. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has since confirmed a broad-based agreement.

In Google’s business model, news plays a more vital role than it does in Facebook. Easton suggested that in situations where the newspapers and television networks disagreed, the public would wonder if the platforms reacted differently to the draft legislation to establish an arbitration tribunal to set a news price. The response is that our networks have inherently different news partnerships,” Easton said.

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