Australian PM rejects Facebook ‘threat’, vows to make tech giants pay

Friday, 19 Feb, 2021

The tech giant's intentionally broad-brush - call it antisocial - implementation of content restrictions took down a swathe of non-news publishers' Facebook pages, as well as silencing news outlets', illustrating its planned dodge of the (future) law.

"Australia's democratically elected government is democratically elected". Now in a firm and frontal attack by the social networking site, it has asserted its importance by shutting out all news media, including the pages of government agencies and parastatals who increasingly use Facebook for information dissemination.

Kevin Chan, head of public policy for Facebook in Canada, said there were "other options to support news in Canada that will more fairly benefit publishers of all sizes". The vast majority of our readers visit the Pappas Post directly - more than 80 per cent - so we haven't really been impacted by Facebook's spat with the Australian government.

As Google turned conciliatory and the bill looked set to become law next week, it was Facebook's turn.

Others, like Mr Donikian, hope the faux pas will prompt Facebook to review its "stance on small businesses and startups and doesn't include them with the mainstream platforms". "This is yet another egregious example of Big Tech monopolists, like Facebook, abusing their massive power - and further demonstrates why governments around the world must enforce their antitrust laws and end government coddling, like Section 230 immunity".

Australian news organizations could not put stories online on Thursday. The deal spans audio and video and News Corp. also will get an ad revenue share from Google.

"This post can't be shared", the website said.

Facebook has defended its response, saying the proposed legislation was unworkable and insisting it was forced to introduce the news blackout.

"I would just say to Facebook, this is Australia".

The legislation has not yet been passed, the note added.

Facebook's own page wasn't the only one that was affected by the broad ban in Australia.

The law establishing a media bargaining code was proposed by the government-run Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which found after a monthslong investigation that US technology companies Alphabet Inc., which owns Google, and Facebook hold too much power in the Australian media market.

The country's Health Minster Greg Hunt also denounced Facebook's decision.

Both Google and Facebook had threatened to retaliate. But that threat has faded as Google has worked out licensing content deals with Australian media companies under its own News Showcase model. She said Facebook would continue to engage with the governments on amendments to the law. The company cleared several government-operated accounts in Australia.

In the UK, Julian Knight MP, who chairs the Commons media select committee, said the company was behaving like a bully.

But Facebook's move to ban all Australian news content from its platform has taken the conflict to a whole new level.

The Facebook pages of state-funded Australian Broadcasting Corp went blank, along with those of Australia's two big metro newspaper chains, Nine Entertainment Co Ltd and News Corp International outlets such as the New York Times, the BBC and Reuters also became invisible.

"The fact that there are organizations like state health departments, fire and emergency services. who have had their Facebook pages blocked, that's a public safety issue", Fletcher said.

The former chief executive also encouraged Australians to delete the Facebook app and blasted CEO Mark Zuckerberg's motivations.

"And he will come back to me with some more considered views", Frydenberg said.

The new law requires tech giants to pay for news content, though it does not stress the amount.

"If we were talking about a country other than Australia, which has such a uniquely large diaspora, we may have been having a different conversation". Caty Weaver was the editor.

"If you're in a similar situation because of Zuckerberg's move this morning, then we're sorry that you're in the trenches with us on this". Write to us in the Comments Section.