Newsdeck

Newsdeck

Facebook restricts publishers, users in Australia from sharing news content

Facebook Inc. signage is displayed on a laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in the Brooklyn Borough of New York, U.S., on Friday, July 24, 2020. Facebook Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on July 29. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Feb 17 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc will block news content from being read and shared in its news feed in Australia, drawing a line in the sand against a proposed Australian law that would require it and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay the country's news publishers for content.

By Sheila Dang

The move, announced in a blog post on Wednesday, represents a divergence in responses among the big tech giants under attack by news publishers, which have blamed the companies for destroying their advertising business.

The Australian federal government has said it plans to put the legislation, which effectively force Google and Facebook to strike deals with media companies or have fees set for them, to a vote in the coming weeks.

Google has also threatened to shut down its search engine in the country to avoid “unworkable” content laws even as it has secured deals with publishers in the U.K., Germany, France, Brazil and Argentina for its Google News Showcase product.

On Wednesday, Google reached a landmark global deal with News Corp, owner of the Wall Street Journal and two-thirds of Australia’s major city newspapers, to develop a subscription platform and share advertising revenue.

Facebook said the proposed legislation “fundamentally misunderstands” the relationship between tech platforms and publishers, adding that it has helped Australian publishers earn about AU$407 million last year through referrals.

The social media giant, which has long been criticized for allowing misinformation to flourish on its platforms, said Australian users will not be able read or share news content on its sites, and Australian news publishers will be restricted posting or sharing content on Facebook pages.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Kenneth Li and Nick Zieminski)

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Feeling powerless in politics?

Equip yourself with the tools you need for an informed decision this election. Get the Elections Toolbox with shareable party manifesto guide.