Facebook Threatens to Block All News Sharing on Its Platforms in Australia

Facebook has said it will stop users in Australia from sharing news on the social network if a proposed law from the country's competition regulator comes into force that would require it to pay local media companies for their content (via CNET).

facebook
The threat comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) submitted a draft regulatory code that would "address the bargaining power imbalances between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms" and allow Australian news publications to "negotiate for fair payment for their journalist's work."

If the proposed regulation becomes law, technology companies like Facebook and Google will have three months to negotiate with Australian media organisations. 

In a blog post on Tuesday, Facebook Australia and New Zealand's managing director Will Easton pushed back against the draft regulation, claiming that the code "misunderstands the dynamics of the internet and will do damage to the very news organisations the government is trying to protect."

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. But it is the only way to protect against an outcome that defies logic and will hurt, not help, the long-term vibrancy of Australia’s news and media sector.

[...]

The ACCC presumes that Facebook benefits most in its relationship with publishers, when in fact the reverse is true. News represents a fraction of what people see in their News Feed and is not a significant source of revenue for us. Still, we recognize that news provides a vitally important role in society and democracy, which is why we offer free tools and training to help media companies reach an audience many times larger than they have previously.  

In a statement given to CNET, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said Facebook's threat was "ill-timed and misconceived."

"The draft media bargaining code aims to ensure Australian news businesses, including independent, community and regional media, can get a seat at the table for fair negotiations with Facebook and Google," said Sims.

"Facebook already pays some media for news content. The code simply aims to bring fairness and transparency to Facebook and Google's relationships with Australian news media businesses."

In a move possibly related to the ACCC's draft code, Facebook has sent a notification to all users, explaining that its terms of service will be updated from October 1 to allow it to remove or restrict access to any content it thinks could cause the social media company legal problems.

Google also opposes the draft regulation, and sent an open letter to the ACCC claiming that it would put the free services that it offers users at risk. The ACCC responded by saying the letter "contains misinformation" and said that "a healthy news media sector is essential to a well-functioning democracy." It also noted that charging users is not a requirement of the draft regulation, and if Google chose to go down that route, it would be Google's choice alone.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

farewelwilliams Avatar
12 months ago
should just block all users from using the platform. that would be great.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Floop Avatar
12 months ago
Excellent. This is a win-win for everybody. Facebook is a horrible company, and using Facebook to get your "news" is terrible. So if Facebook want to stop people sharing "news" on their platform, that would be great! Instead we can just have holiday pictures and ads I will never click on.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kabeyun Avatar
12 months ago
Blocking news on Facebook would be marvelous, and not just in Australia & New Zealand.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
George Dawes Avatar
12 months ago
I was banned by Facebook over a trivial location issue , they wanted me to scan in my passport as proof of ID , which is a ridiculous level of intrusion imo . Twitter is just as bad . Best avoided
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DBZmusicboy01 Avatar
12 months ago
Facebook can go... you know ?
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SBlue1 Avatar
12 months ago
Facebook pays big news organizations for news? Ok. Facebooks doesn't pay the small media? Ok. So the government steps in and forces Facebook to pay them too and Facebook cries? Ok. I don't use Facebook, and in general don't think social media should be someones only source of news, but I think if Facebooks generates income from the work news organizations put in they should pay.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 6s india wistron

Indian Workers Ransack Wistron iPhone Production Plant Over Unpaid Wages

Monday December 14, 2020 1:24 am PST by
Workers reportedly went on the rampage at an iPhone production plant in India on Sunday and caused widespread damage to the Wistron-run factory over claims of unpaid wages. Video posted on social media showed smashed CCTV cameras and glass panels, broken lights and upturned vehicles at Wistron's manufacturing facility in Bangalore. According to the Times of India, many of the 2,000...
ios7 safari icon

Apple and Other Browser Makers Ban Kazakhstan HTTPS Certificate Used to Surveil Citizens

Saturday December 19, 2020 1:38 am PST by
Apple has teamed up with Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla to block a web browser root certificate that was being used by the Kazakhstan government to surveil its citizens. The certificate allowed authorities to monitor people's online activity by intercepting and decrypting HTTPS traffic from residents in Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan. Local ISPs were required to block foreign...
appstore

Apple Removes 39,000 Games From China App Store

Thursday December 31, 2020 4:24 am PST by
Apple on Thursday removed nearly 39,000 apps from its Chinese App Store due to the apps lacking an official license from local regulators, reports Reuters. The report, which cites data from research firm Qimai, says that games affected by the cull included Ubisoft title Assassin's Creed Identity and NBA 2K20. According to Qimai, only 74 of the top 1,500 paid games on the China App Store...
Facebook Feature

Zuckerberg Now Claims Apple's App Tracking Transparency Rules Could Benefit Facebook

Thursday March 18, 2021 3:51 pm PDT by
Despite campaigning heavily against Apple's upcoming anti-tracking rules, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today said that Facebook will "be in a good position" when Apple begins enforcing App Tracking Transparency and could even benefit from the changes. "It's possible that we may even be in a stronger position if Apple's changes encourage more businesses to conduct more commerce on our...
japan FTC

Japan Preparing to Regulate Big Tech in Collaboration with U.S. and Europe

Monday October 19, 2020 7:45 am PDT by
Japan has followed the United States, Australia, and numerous countries around the world in preparing to heavily regulate big tech companies, including Apple, due to antitrust disputes and fears about market control (via Reuters). Japan is reportedly "laying the groundwork" to regulate big tech companies including Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Kazuyuki Furuya, chairman of Japan's...
tiktok logo

ByteDance Granted Seven-Day Extension of TikTok Sale

Thursday November 26, 2020 4:02 am PST by
TikTok owner ByteDance has been granted a seven-day extension on an order from the Trump Administration to sell the short-form video sharing platform (via Reuters). The administration had previously granted ByteDance a 15-day extension of the order issued in August, which was set to expire Friday. President Trump on August 14 directed ByteDance to divest the app within 90 days. According...
Apple TV Ray Light teal

Apple Picks Up 'Extrapolations' Series on Climate Change for Apple TV+

Wednesday December 9, 2020 2:16 pm PST by
"Extrapolations," an upcoming anthology series about climate change, is coming to Apple TV+, reports Variety. The series was created by Scott Z. Burns, who is writing, directing, and executive producing. The show will tell "intimate, unanticipated stories" about how changes to the planet will affect "love, faith, work, and family on a personal and human scale." The series will feature 10...
facebook

Facebook Reverses Australian Ban on News Sharing

Tuesday February 23, 2021 12:53 am PST by
Facebook has announced that it will restore the ability for users in Australia to share news content on the social platform, following changes to the country's media code. The company banned all news sharing last week in response to a proposed Media Bargaining Law, which aims to level the playing field between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms in terms of bargaining...
mlk day apple 2021

Apple and Tim Cook Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday January 18, 2021 6:06 am PST by
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, an annual federal holiday commemorating the American civil rights movement leader. Apple today honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a full-page tribute on its website. A photo of Dr. King is accompanied by an iconic quote of his: "True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice." On...
facebook

FTC Accuses Facebook of Social Media Monopoly, Calls for Divestiture of Instagram and WhatsApp

Wednesday December 9, 2020 12:18 pm PST by
The United States Federal Trade Commission today teamed up 46 states, the District of Columbia, and the territory of Guam to sue Facebook for maintaining an illegal social networking monopoly through years of anticompetitive conduct. Facebook is accused of engaging in a "systematic strategy" to eliminate threats to its monopoly, which included the 2012 acquisition of Instagram and the 2014...