Wednesday, 24 February, 2021


Facebook pulls all news content in Australia over new media law

A 3D printed Facebook logo is seen in front of displayed Australia's flag in this illustration Facebook blocks news sites, charities, government pages in Australia
Melba Vasquez | 20 February, 2021, 06:10

Buck, who was named the ranking member this month, told Reuters on Thursday the panel would bring out a series of antitrust bills and the first one in the coming weeks would allow smaller news organizations to negotiate collectively with Facebook and Alphabet's Google.

"The Facebook pages of Nine and News Corp, which together dominate the country's metro newspaper market, and the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corp, which acts as a central information source during natural disasters, were blank". That said, we should always keep in mind that as a private company that offers its users the use of the platform at no cost, we are subject to the rules that they decide.

Facing a proposed law to compel internet companies to pay news organizations, Google has announced deals with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Seven West Media. The two men had a subsequent conversation on Thursday morning which was "constructive", Frydenberg said, adding they discussed what he called "differing interpretations" about how the new Media Bargaining Code would work. It said Facebook also blocked some government communications, including messages about emergency services. As the law does not provide a clear guidance on the definition of news content, we have taken a broad definition in order to respect the law as drafted.

"Whoever thinks he can frame this fight only in terms of the responsibilities of the Morrison Coalition government, eg. former Labor PM Kevin Rudd, or current Labor opposition leader Anthony Albanese, is obviously making a mistake", Mr Karamarkos said. Facebook said in its statement that the law, which is expected to be passed by parliament within days, "fundamentally misunderstands" the relationship between itself and publishers and it faced a stark choice of complying or banning news content.

Traffic to Australian news websites tumbled in the hours following Facebook's news ban and audiences overall have not shifted to new platforms, according to data from web analytics company Chartbeat. The same study said 29% of Australian news video content is consumed on Facebook.

"There is willful blindness to this logic", Evans wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

At the moment, 31% of Australian online news consumers go directly to news websites, whereas 37% come across news on social media. "That's why I invite, as we did with Google, Facebook to constructively engage because they know that what Australia will do here is likely to be followed by many other Western jurisdictions". "So, we're all behind Australia in my view". It also said that news from Australian publications can not be shared internationally.

In what appeared to be a botched effort to ban news sites on its platform in Australia, Facebook appeared to ban its own page - along with a number of pages for government agencies, health services, and charitable organizations.

Australian radio and television personality George Donikian was "appalled" to see his online news service, The Informer, scrapped overnight.

While Anthony Albanese labelled Facebook's actions "reprehensible". Also affected were several major state government accounts, including those providing advice on the coronavirus pandemic and bushfire threats at the height of the summer season, and scores of charity and non-governmental organisation accounts. Some were later restored.

Buck said he wanted the focus to remain on the tech giants. Eastern argues that for Facebook "the business gain from news is minimal" since news makes up "less than 4 percent of the content" people see in their Facebook feed.

A spat between Facebook and the Australian leadership over the country's Media Bargaining code is escalating as the tech giant has barred the country's news from its platform.

With professional journalism blacked out, "Facebook has exponentially increased the opportunity for misinformation, risky radicalism and conspiracy theories to abound on its platform", tweeted Lisa Davies, editor of The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

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