Facebook issues a warning on Australians that it will block their users from sharing local and international news if the country pushes its plan to force the digital giant to pay media outlets to use its news content.
This move marks one of the most aggressive pursuits of any government to curb the U.S. digital technology company’s control. It came after the Australian government proposed new legislation to oblige Facebook and Google to pay its local news organization as permitted to share its content. Failure to comply, hence, will slap them millions of dollars in penalty.
Easton also said that the monumental legislation initiative “misunderstands the dynamics of the internet and will do damage to the very news organisations the government is trying to protect.”
“This is not our first choice — it is our last. 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…We already invest millions of dollars in Australian news businesses, and during discussions over this legislation, we offered to invest millions more. We had also hoped to bring Facebook News to Australia, a feature on our platform exclusively for news, where we pay publishers for their content.”Will Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia and New Zealand
Australian government officials immediately fired back as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg rejected the idea of “coercion or heavy-handed threats, wherever they come from.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission already released a response regarding the California-based digital company’s announcement.
“Facebook’s threat today to prevent any sharing of news on its services in Australia is ill-timed and misconceived.”Statement from The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Google, another U.S. company giant, has also made a compelling campaign versus the proposed overhaul. It recently created pop-ups on the search engine containing the remark “the way Aussies use Google is at risk.” It came to the point that they encouraged YouTubers to complain to the Australian government.
The initial proposal will only be directed on Facebook and Google, but it could eventually cover any social media platform in the long run.
Facebook’s strong firm to bar Australian users from sharing news may take a significant blow to their vaunted image. And while the news feature is not seen as a major key in Facebook and Google’s function, the platforms’ news sharing feature still undeniably plays a factor in their overall appeal.
Easton said on Monday that “the proposed law is unprecedented in its reach and seeks to regulate every aspect of how tech companies do business with news publishers.”
“We are left with a choice of either removing news entirely or accepting a system that lets publishers charge us for as much content as they want at a price with no clear limits. Unfortunately, no business can operate that way.”Will Easton