Wednesday, 24 February, 2021


Australia won't advertise COVID-19 vaccine on Facebook but vows publicity

Canada vows to follow Australia in making Facebook pay for news content Australia says Facebook in talks with government after news ban
Bennie Garza | 21 February, 2021, 19:48

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Facebook's move Thursday to prevent Australians from accessing and sharing news as a threat.

The blockade was a response to the passage of a bill by the House of Representatives on Wednesday night that would make Facebook and Google pay Australian media companies fair compensation for the journalism that the platforms link to.

The social media giant had blocked all news articles from appearing in Australia in response to an upcoming law that would require Facebook and Google to pay news publishers for their content being shared on their platforms.

Morrison said the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and France's Emmanuel Macron were also monitoring the issue closely.

The conservative coalition leader spoke just 24-hours he branded Facebook's move to block news in the country as "arrogant", warning against "Big Tech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them", as Breitbart News reported.

"We talked through their remaining issues and agreed our respective teams would work through them immediately", Frydenberg was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.

The document stems from a 2018 Treasury Department order to Australia's competition and consumer agency to investigate the impact of tech giants on the struggling news media environment. Rival Nine Entertainment is reportedly close to its own pact, and state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp is in negotiations.

"We do regularly engage in support of U.S. companies but we don't generally share the specifics of that engagement", he said.

Since the ban came into effect, visits to Australian news sites by users at home and abroad dropped significantly, with overseas traffic down by over 20 percent per day, according to data analytics company Chartbeat.

"People are looking at what Australia is doing", he said.

The move saw referral traffic from the platform disappear, he said, while "direct traffic to our websites was up in double digits".

While Facebook took a stern stance against the law, Google struck deals with News Corp and Australian-based Seven West Media for content.

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