Social Media giant, Facebook announced on Wednesday it will ban Australian publishers and users from sharing or viewing local and international news articles on the platform. The announcement comes in the wake of a proposed Media Bargaining law in Australia.
“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content”, Facebook wrote on its website. “It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”
The Australian government is proposing a law that will require online platforms like Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for displaying and linking to their content instead of using them for free. But Facebook opposes the idea.
If the tech giant bans Australian publishers and users as it threatened, it means the Australians will not be able to post news content on their Facebook pages. News stories from international publishers will not also be viewable by Australian Facebook users.
In addition, Australian people will not be able to share or view news stories on Facebook, and Facebook users worldwide cannot share or view news stories from Australian publishers. “With a heavy heart”, we will ban them, says Facebook.
In contrast, Google said on Wednesday that it has entered into a three-year revenue-sharing deal with News Corp. so it can continue displaying news story links even if Australia implements the proposed legislation.
Google said it will keep providing Australian users with accurate information from its growing list of information hubs. The company will also continue to work with the Agence France-Presse and the Australian Associated Press as part of its fact-checking program.
Meanwhile, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Thursday condemned Facebook’s actions, describing it as harmful. He said that the proposed legislation is an “important” reform.
“Facebook was wrong,” Frydenberg said at a press conference. “Facebook’s actions were unnecessary, they were heavy-handed, and they will damage its reputation here in Australia.”