Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to support him in his fight against Facebook over a bill to make the social media giant pay for sharing content from media organizations.
The case featured in a phone call between Morrison and Modi on Thursday, amid global outrage that Facebook is blocking news and media content for its users in Australia and preventing them from sharing news articles.
Morrison said in a tweet Friday that he and his good friend Modi had discussed the progress of our [Australias] bill on the media platform but did not give details He said India and Australia as global strategic partners can work together on common challenges such as Covid-19, l circular economy and an open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
Read also | Facebook vs. Australia showdown could backfire on you around the world
Morrison also told media in Sydney on Friday that the law was in his appeal with Modi. There is a lot of interest. People are watching what Australia is doing, he said.
There was no official word from the Indian side on the conversation. Modi said in a tweet Thursday that he and Morrison reiterated their commitment to solidifying the comprehensive strategic partnership and discussed regional issues of mutual concern. He added, we look forward to working together for peace, prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Morrison said he was in regular contact with leaders of other nations about Facebook’s actions to defuse Australia … cutting off vital news services on the health and emergency services. He described Facebook’s actions as arrogant and disappointing.
Morrisons raising the issue with Modi on Thursday was the first step in a plan to mobilize global support to end Facebook’s bullying against elected governments, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The Morrisons government is also bracing for a long-standing battle with the much-needed tech giant, according to the report.
Anger rose in Australia after Facebook also covered up posts for essential government services such as State Health Services, Fire and Rescue Services and the Bureau of Meteorology, and crisis services such as Suicide Prevention Australia. Facebook has some 17 million users in Australia.
Read also | Australian news site traffic drops after Facebook blocks content: report
It’s understandable that Australian parties are pressuring India for support, as the country has over 300 million Facebook users and is the largest market for tech giants in the world.
In his Facebook post, Morrison said the company’s actions only confirmed concerns expressed by a growing number of countries about the behavior of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and the rules. should not apply to them.
He added, they can change the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it.
Morrison said Australia will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament as it votes on our important news media bargaining code. Just as we were not intimidated when Amazon threatened to leave the country and Australia brought other nations together to fight against the posting of terrorist content on social media platforms.
Before the Australian Senate debates the bill on Monday, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Friday and negotiations were due to continue this weekend.
Canada is also planning to charge Facebook for news content and is seeking allies in the campaign against the tech giants. Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, who is overseeing efforts to craft similar legislation, condemned Facebook’s actions in Australia and said Canada could adopt the Australian model.
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