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Changes in Facebook News Sharing and Viewing in Australia




IN answer to Australia new proposed media talk law, Facebook will limit publishers and people in Australia by sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.

The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has left us with a grim 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 are choosing the latter.

This discussion has focused on American tech companies and how they benefit from news content on their services. We understand that many will wonder why platforms might respond differently. The answer is because our platforms have fundamentally different relationships with the news. Google Search is inextricably linked to news and publishers do not voluntarily submit their content. Publishers, on the other hand, willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as this allows them to sell more subscriptions, increase their audience, and increase advertising revenue.

In fact, and as we have made clear to the Australian Government for many months, the exchange of value between Facebook and publishers goes in favor of publishers, which is the opposite of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to take over. Last year Facebook generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth about $ 407 million.

For Facebook, the profit of the business from the news is minimal. tidings makes up less than 4% of the content people see in their News Feed. Journalism is important for a democratic society, which is why we build dedicated, free tools to support news organizations around the world in updating their content for online audiences.

Over the last three years we have worked with the Australian Government to find a solution that recognizes the realities of how our services work. Weve has long worked towards the rules that would encourage innovation and collaboration between digital platforms and news organizations. Unfortunately, this legislation does not. Instead, it seeks to penalize Facebook for content it has not received or requested.

We were prepared to launch News on Facebook in Australia and significantly increase our investments with local publishers, however, we were prepared to do so only with the right rules. This legislation sets a precedent when the government decides who enters into these news content agreements and, ultimately, how much is paid to the party that already receives value from the free service. We will now prioritize investments in other countries as part of our plans invest in new news licensing programs and experiences.

Others have also raised concerns. Independent experts and analysts around the world have consistently described problems with the proposed legislation. While the government has made some changes, the proposed law essentially fails to understand how our services work.

Unfortunately, this means that people and news organizations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook. Globally, the posting and sharing of news links by Australian publishers is also limited. To do this, we are using a combination of technologies to restrict news content and will have processes to review any content that was inadvertently removed.

For Australian publishers this means:

  • They are restricted from sharing or posting any content on Facebook Pages
  • Administrators will still be able to access other features from their Facebook Page, including site knowledge and Creator Studio
  • We will continue to provide access to all other standard Facebook services, including data tools and CrowdTangle

For international publishers this means:

  • They may continue to post news content on Facebook, but links and posts cannot be viewed or shared by Australian audiences

For our Australian community this means:

  • They may not view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news sites

For our international community this means:

  • They may not view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian News Pages

Changes affecting news content will not otherwise change Facebook products and services in Australia. We want to assure millions of Australians who use Facebook to connect with friends and family, grow their business and join Groups to help support their local communities that these services will not change .

We know it’s important to connect people with authoritative information and we will continue to promote dedicated information centers like this COVID-19 Information Center, which connects Australians with relevant health information. Our commitment to removing harmful misinformation and ensuring access to reliable and timely information will not change. We remain committed to ours Third-party fact-checking program with Agence France-Presse and Australian Associated Press and will continue to invest to support their important work.

our global engagement to invest in quality news has also not changed. We recognize that news plays an important role in society and democracy, which is why we recently EXTENDED Facebook News to hundreds of publications in the UK.

We hope that in the future the Australian Government recognizes the value we already offer and works with us to strengthen, rather than limit, our partnerships with publishers.

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