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FaceBook blocks Australians; backlash to Australia’s new ‘media code’ law

Facebook comes with strong backlash to Australians. FB has started blocking users, news organisations and other organisations in Australia from sharing news and other links on their platform. The announcement came just after Australia is set to make the new ‘media code’ as its law. As per the new law, Australia will correct the bargaining imbalance between newsrooms and digital giants such as Facebook and Google. But with the Facebook’s decision to block, Australia is now in trouble.

“Today, we made an incredibly difficult decision to restrict the availability of news on Facebook in Australia. What the proposed law introduced in Australia fails to recognise is the fundamental nature of the relationship between our platform and publishers. Contrary to what some have suggested, Facebook does not steal news content,” FB said in a blog post.

Australia’s proposed law argues that both platforms should pay news publications for the links they use. This will allow news publishers to pursue individual monetary deals with Facebook and Google. It will also seek arbitration in case they feel that a deal being offered is unfair.

The FB on the other hand has already started removing news content from Australia. Reacting to the decision, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg called it “wrong”.  “Facebook’s actions were unnecessary, they were heavy-handed, and they will damage its reputation here in Australia,”he said. He further said that the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave no clue of the news shutdown.

The company also made it clear that posting and sharing news links from Australian publishers are being restricted. While for Australian news publishers, now on their Facebook page will have no value.

For international news publishers, Facebook says that they can continue to post their content on the platform. But it will no longer be “viewed or shared by Australian audiences.” Australian users will no longer be able to “view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news Pages.”


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