Facebook has taken a stunning move to ban Australian publishers and users from sharing or viewing news articles on its platform in response to the Morrison government’s Media Bargaining Bill
The bargaining code, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening, will require social media companies to pay media outlets for the use of their content The bill is expected to pass the Senate and become law from next week
In a blog post on Thursday (AEDT), Facebook said it had followed through on September threat after being unable to come up with a solution during talks with the Australian government
Facebook page content from news websites such as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, News Corp newspapers such as The Australian and The Herald Sun and all ABC content have been made unavailable to users from Thursday morning Articles published by online youth publication Junkee Media and satirical news sites The Betoota Advocate and The Chaser have also been removed. Some Facebook groups run by news organizations have no articles on them
– The bill fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and the publishers who use it to share topical content, – William Easton, CEO of Facebook for Australia and New Zealand , said
– This left us with a tough choice: to try to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or to stop allowing news content on our services in Australia With a heavy heart, we choose the latter
– Unfortunately, this means that people and news agencies in Australia are now prohibited from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebookâ € ”
Responding to Facebook’s announcement Thursday morning, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government would not back down from legislating on the code
– We will maintain the path we are following The Prime Minister, the Treasurer and I have been very consistent on this point… ???? M Fletcher told 2 Go radio
He said Facebook’s decision to block authoritative news sources would further expose the company to the spread of disinformation and unverified content
– It is very important that we have a diverse and well-resourced news media industry in Australia, which is a vital part of our democracy Now, that may not seem important to a Silicon Valley company , but it is very important to the Australian government and the Australian people M Fletcher said
– They are effectively telling Australians that if you are looking for reliable information, Facebook is not the place to look for itâ ????
The ban appears to have gone into effect for at least some users, who are no longer able to post links to Australian news articles on their Facebook pages or view articles published by mainstream media Easton’s blog said that not only are Australian outlets banned from sharing content on Facebook pages, but international articles from newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times cannot be viewed or reposted by Australian users
– This action proves once again their monopoly position and unreasonable behavior, – the spokesperson said But today’s statement does not mean that Facebook will not have to comply with the code proposed by the Federal government value has already been transferred and Facebook has benefited from our content for many years.
â ???? We should be able to access their monopoly platform and have the right to monetize our content accordinglyâ ????
ABC chief executive David Anderson said national broadcaster was affected and discussing change with Facebook
Facebook’s move comes after multiple talks between treasurer Josh Frydenberg and the company’s global managing director Mark Zuckerberg Talks were held until recently until Sunday and Mr. Frydenberg previously described them as “constructive”
– Mark Zuckerberg didn’t convince me to back down, if that’s what you’re asking, – M Frydenberg said on ABC’s Insiders program at the end of January
But industry sources familiar with the government’s discussions with Facebook said Mr. Frydenberg had not been meaningfully informed of Facebook’s plans to follow through on his threat today
M Frydenberg said on Twitter this morning that he had just spoken to M Zuckerberg, who raised a few other issues with the new laws proposed by the government “We agreed to continue our conversation to try to find a way forward,” Mr. Frydenberg wrote
News outlets which currently have a relationship with Facebook and publish articles in its news feed were told early Thursday morning that their content would be affected
A note sent by Andrew Hunter, head of press partnerships for Facebook Australia and New Zealand, seen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, said the tech platform was ‘disappointed’ that he had to follow through on his threat and that he would engage the media more to discuss the changes in the coming days
Facebook was in talks with news outlets such as Nine Entertainment Co, owner of this masthead, and News Corp Australia about paying for their content over the past two weeks.
But those talks have been stalled for the past five days due to several sticking points, including explicit provisions in Facebook’s contracts that would allow it to blow up any deal if new laws were legislated The main reason is that breaking the code could cost Facebook fines of up to 10% of their local revenue Failure to comply with this rule would implicate certain media organizations platform content or de-prioritize articles from publishers who wanted payment
M Easton said the government’s bill sought to penalize Facebook for content it had neither accepted nor requested
– This legislation sets a precedent where the government decides who enters into these news content agreements and, ultimately, how much the party who already receives value from the free service gets paid, â € “ he said
â ???? We will now prioritize investments in other countries, as part of our plans to invest in new licensing programs and news experiences.
Facebook’s stance represents a different take from search giant Google, which had also threatened to leave Australia Google has since struck multi-million dollar deals with major Australian publishers for the use of their content
Google has agreed to pay Nine Entertainment Co, owner of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, more than $ 30 million in cash per year for the use of its news content The company has also made deals similar with Seven West Media and overnight announced a global deal with News Corp
Zoe Samios is a media and telecommunications reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age
Lisa Visentin is a federal political reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, which covers education and communications
Australia, Media, Facebook, Google, News Corporation
Ebene News – UA – “Unreasonable Behavior”: Media Companies Criticize Facebook … Australian News Restrictions