Facebook Blocks News Sharing in Australia
Facebook blocked publishers and users in Australia from viewing and sharing news on its site. The move is ramping a dispute over a government plan to make internet companies pay publishers for content. Facebook’s MD for Australia and New Zealand William Easton said the proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between the platform and publishers.
“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. We hope that in the future the Australian government will recognise the value we already provide and work with us to strengthen, rather than limit, our partnerships with publishers,” said Easton.
The move comes days after Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reportedly made good progress in talks to agree a deal with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google chief Sundar Pichai. Frydenberg slated Facebook’s decision, telling the press it had been heavy handed. Despite its own objections, Google reportedly forged content licensing agreements with several outlets including News Corp and Nine Entertainment, which owns The Sydney Morning Herald.