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Facebook blocks news viewing, sharing in Australia

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7:55 PM PST 17.02.2021

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Abid Rahman

The social media giant made the decision because of the laws proposed in the country to make Big Tech pay for journalism.

Facebook has blocked Australian users from viewing or sharing news links on its platform in response to proposed new laws in the country that will force tech giants to pay for journalism.

The new rules for Australian Facebook users mean they can not share Australian or international news and international users outside Australia also cannot share Australian news.

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” Facebook Australia and New Zealand regional director William Easton said in a statement. posting on the company website.

“This has left us with a bleak choice: trying to abide by a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or banning news content on our services in Australia. last, “Easton added.

The company’s decision to take the nuclear option and block access and news sharing has already led to a storm of criticism from emergency services in Australia who rely on the social media platform to broadcast vital information about fires, floods, extreme weather and COVID-19 among other local issues of public interest and safety.

Australian children’s hospitals, neighborhood watchdogs, charities and NGOs have seen posts already removed, Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday, local time.

The Australian government clashed Facebook over what is a historic local ban on viewing and disseminating news. “Facebook was wrong. Facebook’s actions were unnecessary, they were harsh and they will damage its reputation here in Australia,” treasurer Josh Frydenberg told a news conference in Canberra today.

“Their decision to block Australians’ access to government sites – whether for support through pandemics, mental health, emergency services, the Bureau of Meteorology – was completely unrelated to the media code which will not yet pass the Senate. added Frydenberg.

Facebook’s one-sided response to the proposed legislation covering digital news in Australia stands in stark contrast to Google which after an uninterrupted initial position and threats to withdraw its services from the country is now in negotiations and made several deals with companies of local media, said Frydenberg.

Google has already reached an agreement with Seven West Media (Seven Network, Australia Australiane newspaper) and is close to commercial agreements with Nine Entertainment (Nine Network, Nine Radio, and leading newspaperAge ANDSydney Morning Herald) and national broadcasters ABC.

On Wednesday, Google signed a landmark deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to pay for journalism from its global news sites, including the company’s Australian assets, such as major daily newspapers. The Australian, Daily Telegraph ANDDielli Herald as well as its television properties Foxtel and Sky News Australia.



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