Facebook on Thursday banned all news from its platform in Australia as retaliation against the government for “proposed legislation that would force tech platforms to pay news publishers for content,” CNN reports.
Wrote Campbell Brown, Facebook’s VP of Global News Partnerships, in a statement: “What the proposed law introduced in Australia fails to recognize is the fundamental nature of the relationship between our platform and publishers. Contrary to what some have suggested, Facebook does not steal news content. Publishers choose to share their stories on Facebook. From finding new readers to getting new subscribers and driving revenue, news organizations wouldn’t use Facebook if it didn’t help their bottom lines. But we think we can do more and through the Facebook Journalism Project we have the right resources and team in place to bring innovation to the future of digital news.”
Wrote Prime Minister Scott Morrison in response to the ban: “Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing. I am in regular contact with the leaders of other nations on these issues. These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them. They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it.We will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament as it votes on our important News Media Bargaining Code. Just as we weren’t intimidated when Amazon threatened to leave the country and when Australia drew other nations together to combat the publishing of terrorist content on social media platforms.I encourage Facebook to constructively work with the Australian Government, as Google recently demonstrated in good faith.”
CNN adds: “The news ban has already been met with confusion and criticism in the country. Fire and emergency services, domestic violence charities, state health agencies and other organizations said they were also affected by the restrictions, prompting outrage among those who said Facebook was restricting access to vital information. In response, the company has said it will reverse pages ‘inadvertently impacted’ by its move.”