Facebook is set to be blocking all news content in Australia due to disagreement with the government.
Facebook has been having difficulties curbing false information across their social platform. Countries have been affected by the misinformation that is usually spread on these platforms and Australia is not having any of it. Australia has new media bargaining laws and Facebook was not in agreement and even issued a statement.
As explained by Facebook:
“In response to Australia’s proposed new Media Bargaining law, Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.”
Facebook appears to be rolling the new blockage gradually, with all the Facebook Pages of the major news outlets now featuring a black cover image, with the ‘Posts’ tab removed.
When you go to share a post, users are seeing different types of errors – some with basic notes, others with explainers.
Facebook has also cancelled media interviews in Australia, while various reports have also indicated that Pages of Government departments have also been caught up in the blockade.
What was the law proposing?
The proposed media bargaining law sought to force Google and Facebook, specifically, to share a portion of their respective revenues with local news publishers via a mandatory code of agreement.
“The [Australian Government’s] 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.”
The law was formulated on the back of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Digital Platforms Inquiry report, published in 2019, which underlined the sheer dominance of Google and Facebook in the local digital market.