Australian Government and Facebook at loggerheads as talks continue into the weekend

Australian Government and Facebook at loggerheads as talks continue into the weekend

The Australian measure "fails to recognize ... the fundamental nature of the relationship between our platform and publishers", said Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of global news partnerships in a blog post.

In February 2021, Facebook banned news on its platform in Australia in response to a proposed law working its way through the Australian government that would require technology platforms such as Facebook and Google to pay news sources for content.

"That is why I invite.Facebook to constructively engage because they know that what Australia will do here is likely to be followed by many other Western jurisdictions", Morrison told reporters, according to Reuters.

Billions of people around the world rely on Facebook for essential information - not just news, but charity and government pages, emergency announcements and other important channels.

"But if this was easy, every other country in the world would have done it already".

Facebook's move to block all news content in Australia is an attempt to bully a democracy and will stiffen the resolve of legislators across the world to get tough with the tech giants, a senior British lawmaker said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also denounced Facebook's decision.

The company has blocked users in Australia from posting or seeing links to local or worldwide news websites in protest of the Australian government's plans to make social-media companies negotiate payments to publishers there.

Facebook and Google's respective reactions to the Australian law - to preemptively prevent the distribution of news and to alternatively work to address the law's anticipated confines - is being closely watched by Americans seeking to curb Big Tech's power.

In contrast to Facebook's stand, Google is willing to pay publishers for news.

Facebook blocks news sites, charities, government pages in Australia

Chartbeat - a tool used by many Australian news outlets, including the ABC - tracks in real time the number of readers on a digital article and how they were referred to the story, whether via Facebook, Google search, hyperlink, or internally through a publisher's website or app.

Knight, who compared the innovation and disruption of the U.S. tech giants to the invention of the printing press in Europe in the 15th Century, said the tussle between state and tech giant would be one of the defining battles of our times.

He left it to Australian media and Big Tech to thrash out a framework to negotiate the price of links that draw clicks - and advertising dollars - to their platforms. The digital giants would not be able to abuse their dominant negotiating positions by making take-it-or-leave-it payment offers to news businesses for their journalism.

The lower house of the Australian parliament, the House of Representatives, passed the legislation on Wednesday night, paving the way for the Senate to pass it into law.

"When Facebook traffic dropped off, overall Australian traffic did not shift to other platforms".

"The fact that there are organizations like state health departments, fire and emergency services. who have had their Facebook pages blocked, that's a public safety issue", Fletcher said. Facebook, for its part, took a strong line against Myanmar's military coup - but only after the Biden administration imposed sanctions on army leaders and publicly rebuked the action.

Even amongst Facebook's critics, not everyone is convinced that Australia has got the right approach. Meanwhile, Facebook's image in Australia as a harmless online gathering spot was marred by revelations it sold third-party marketers the personal data of millions of people to target in the 2016 USA election.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg described Facebook's move as "wrong" and "heavy-handed". Thus, Google boasts almost 95 percent of the search engine market share in Australia.

'But it is the only way to protect against an outcome that defies logic and will hurt, not help, the long-term vibrancy of Australia's news and media sector'.

"There is more at stake here than just one or two commercial deals", he said.

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