Facebook news goes dark in Australia as content spat escalates

  • Facebook news goes dark in Australia as content spat escalates

Facebook news goes dark in Australia as content spat escalates

But in a statement, Henry Faure Walker, chairman of the News Media Association which represents United Kingdom media organisations, echoed Mr Knight's comments, describing Facebook's ban as "a classic example of a monopoly power being the school yard bully, trying to protect its dominant position with scant regard for the citizens and customers it supposedly serves". Organizer Rachel Chappel says Facebook's move has "completely shaken" her.

Paulson said it remains unclear whether Facebook would suffer from a disengagement with news, with Australia becoming a test case. "For many years, we were accused of tilting at tech windmills, but what was a solitary campaign, a quixotic quest, has become a movement, and both journalism and society will be enhanced".

Some feeds that were blocked have since been restored by Facebook (including Fire & Rescue NSW and Western Australia's Department of Fire and Emergency Services) but many remain inaccessible, from non-profit organisation Bowel Cancer Australia to EA to... the Denver Broncos. He said he expects the coalition will soon grow to about 15 countries.

"We believe that there's real strength in unity on that", he said. Similar laws, modelled off Australia's code, are being considered in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Given how Facebook's ban has played out in the court of public opinion, advertisers now find themselves, as with the July 2020 #StopHateForProfit boycott, in a position where the decision to advertise on Facebook may come under public scrutiny and criticism.

Facebook is standing up to the Australian government's controversial media code with a rather surprising and dramatic move.

"Other countries are watching, but also Google and Facebook and other digital giants are very focused on what it means, as far as a precedent goes, for other countries", Frydenberg said.

As a way of rebalancing the economic disparities between thriving Big Tech companies and struggling news outlets, the Australian law will compel internet companies to pay news organizations.

"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".

Facebook's hardball response contrasted with Google, which in recent days has brokered deals with media groups, including one announced earlier in the day with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Facebook's announcement Wednesday comes after a flurry of high-level lobbying by the company for changes.

Frydenberg said he had "constructive" discussions with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg after the content blocking began.

Facebook and Google have deals with some United Kingdom media companies.

"The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content".

Facebook claims it generated approximately 5.1 billion referrals to Australian publishers past year, a figure it says is worth an estimated AUD $407 million.

The tech giant has said news makes up just 4% of what people view on its website.

Facebook shares traded down 1.1 per cent in premarket dealings on Thursday. The motion was not approved as it did not receive unanimous consent.

Reached for comment, Facebook confirmed it has applied an intentionally broad definition of news to restrict - saying it has done so to reflect the lack of clear guidance in the law "as drafted".

The legislation, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, was approved this week by the lower house of parliament and will be debated beginning Monday by the Senate, which is expected to adopt the law by the end of the week. "Moreover, the regulation is not even in effect".

"What we are doing is moving away from a volunteer approach. We want something that is fair, that is transparent, that is predictable", he said.

He said the events highlighted the need for competition rules to apply to social media firms, adding: "The problem that I see is that these platforms make enormous sums of money from other people's work, and they aren't returning any equitable value to them".