In response to a planned new media law, Facebook is blocking the sharing of news content on its platform in Australia. Australian Facebook users can no longer share national or international journalistic content. The background to this are the plans of the government in Canberra that large Internet companies such as Google parent Alphabet and Facebook should pay local media companies in the future if they distribute their content. The corporations do not consider this to be feasible.
No more news content
In a notice circulated on Wednesday, Facebook wrote that the proposed bill profoundly misunderstood the relationship between the platforms and publishers who use them to share newsworthy content. “It now presents us with a tough choice: trying to obey a law that misunderstands the reality of this relationship, or no longer allowing news content in our services in Australia. With a heavy heart we chose the latter,” said von Facebook.
Australian publishers benefit from sharing their posts on Facebook, Facebook continues. Facebook had already threatened to ban news from its service in Australia last August, and the last time it repeated the threat at a Senate hearing in January. At this hearing, Google threatened to shut down its search engine in Australia.
Accidentally hit other content
As a result of the measure, some Facebook pages of the Australian police, fire brigade and government agencies were also blocked on Wednesday, including those of the health authorities with important up-to-date information on the corona pandemic. Facebook later announced that this was not intended and that the pages would be restored.