Facebook has taken the drastic step of blocking publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news. This ban is in response to the Australian government’s proposed new Media Bargaining law, which is seen at targeting Facebook and Google.
While Google initially threatened to pull its search services out of Australia, the search engine giant has since relented a little by entering into agreements with a handful of Australian publishers.
On the other hand, Facebook is adopting a hard approach by blocking news sharing and viewing completely in Australia.
“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. 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,” wrote William Easton, Managing Director of Facebook Australia & New Zealand.
The implications are that with immediate effect:
- Australian publishers are restricted from sharing or posting any content on Facebook Pages
- People in Australia cannot view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news Pages
- People outside Australia cannot view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news Pages
Facebook is holding out an olive branch to the Australian government. “We hope that in the future the Australian government will recognise the value we already provide and work with us to strengthen, rather than limit, our partnerships with publishers,” wrote Easton.