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.

Popular Stories

Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....

Top Rated Comments

farewelwilliams Avatar
50 months ago
should just block all users from using the platform. that would be great.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Floop Avatar
50 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
50 months ago
Blocking news on Facebook would be marvelous, and not just in Australia & New Zealand.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
George Dawes Avatar
50 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
50 months ago
Facebook can go... you know ?
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SBlue1 Avatar
50 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)