Why Facebook has blocked the pages of all News sites in Australia

1 March, 2021

  

On Thursday, the Australians discovered, that the Facebook pages of all local and global news sites are not available. People abroad also cannot read or access Australian news posts on the platform.

Facebook made controversial decision in response to proposed law, by which tech giants should pay for news content on their platforms.

Australian law requires, that Facebook and Google enter into commercial agreements with news agencies, links which bring traffic to their platforms. Otherwise, they will be subject to compulsory arbitration to set the price.

Facebook said, that the law "fundamentally misunderstands" the relationship between the technology company and publishers and puts them before a strict choice: endorse or ban news content.

Why the law was drafted

Australian authorities have drafted a law, to "balance the playing field" between tech giants and media companies. Of every 100 Australian dollars, spent today on digital advertising in Australian media, 81 goes to Google and Facebook , initiated by the project.

Unlike Facebook, Google recently signed payment agreements with three major Australian media funds.

  

  

Facebook's actions began a few hours after, how Google has historically agreed to pay News Corp for content.

According to a Reuters Digital News Report 2020 Year, Digital news consumption through social media and search engines in Australia is growing.

The report says, that's about 37% consumers who took part were told, that gained access to the news via social media during the week, compared to 31%, who have directly accessed websites or apps.

Criticism of Facebook

Facebook's measure was immediately criticized by news producers, politicians and human rights defenders around the world.

"Interrupting access to important information for the whole country in the middle of the night – it's an unconscious step.", – told Mediafax Australian Director of Human Rights Watch .

Australia's Conservative government will abide by the law, adopted by the lower house of parliament on Wednesday. He enjoys broad party support, and next week the Senate, likely, It's going to take it..

Facebook shares open lower in several markets. Facebook Inc shares. fell about on 1,1% before the opening of U.S. stock markets.

Similar actions have been taken with respect to media content in other states. Google and Facebook have already signed agreements with some media companies. Regulators in Europe, The UK and Canada are considering introducing similar laws, that would force tech giants to pay for journalistic content on their platforms.

 

 

 

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