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Social media giant Facebook blocks Australian news content

One of the world’s biggest social media platforms has blocked Australian news companies from sharing content and stories today. 

Facebook blocked all Australian news publishers from sharing content in response to a proposed media bargaining law that would see tech giants forced to pay for news shared on their platforms. 

The ACCC relesed a draft of the News media bargaining code on July 31 2020, inviting all interested parties to provide their views on the code. 

Several media companies provided feedback including Nine, News Corp, the MEAA Union, Copyright Agency, Twitter, Facebook and Google.

Nine, News Corp and the Copyright Agency were all for the code. 

Twitter was also accepting of the ACCC legislation as long as the decisions were fair and balanced. However, the company outlined the move wouldn’t be beneficial for them.

Google was not for the bill, threatening to pull its service out of Australia last month altogether.

However, Google have since announced partnerships including one of the first with Seven West Media with the search engine now in negotiations with Nine Entertainment Co for a deal reported to be $30 million per year.

Facebook raised concerns in their feedback with the legislation back in Agust.

The social media giant said it didn’t profit from news content shared on their platform and had concerns over the legislation design, with worries for Australian media diversity.

Facebook said they were left with no other choice but to pull news content from Australian publishers.

“We have made clear to the Australian government for many months, the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favour of the publishers — which is the reverse of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to assume,” Facebook said. 

“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. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.

“Publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audiences and increase advertising revenue. 

“Over the last three years, we’ve worked with the Australian Government to find a solution that recognises the realities of how our services work. 

“We’ve worked towards rules that would encourage innovation and collaboration between digital platforms and news organisations. 

“Unfortunately, this legislation does not do that. Instead, it seeks to penalise Facebook for content it didn’t take or ask for.”

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