Facebook bans Australian users from viewing and sharing news


'Assuming this draft code becomes law, we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and worldwide news on Facebook and Instagram, ' he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Australian news organizations could not post stories and people who tried to share existing news stories got notifications saying they were blocked from doing so. The move has been widely condemned by healthcare and emergency services in Australia.

In the United States, Democratic Congressman David Cicilline said Facebook was not compatible with democracy, and that threatening to bring an entire country to its knees was the ultimate admission of monopoly power.

"The focus on Facebook and Google is misguided", he said. "In blocking "news" in the broadest sense Facebook were likely trying to illustrate that their platform would look like without news (i.e. if this Code becomes law)". "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".

The tech giant has said news makes up just 4% of what people view on its website.

Morrison wrote on his own Facebook page that Facebook's actions "will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of Big Tech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them".

News publishers saw Facebook's tactics as evidence that the company, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, can not be trusted as the gatekeeper for their industry.

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

The decision was received about as well as you'd imagine, with Australian PM Scott Morrison calling Facebook's actions "arrogant" and "disappointing" in a statement shared on Facebook. "They may be changing the world, but that doesn't mean they run it".

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Monaghan has the highest incidence rate in the country at 420 cases per 100,000, followed by Offaly at 369 and Dublin at 352. Officials are also reporting 800 new COVID-19 cases, but a drop of five patients in hospital, for a total of 766.

The ban comes in response to a planned Australian law that would force digital giants Facebook and Google to pay major Australian outlets for carrying snippets or links to their content on the platforms.

Still, Facebook's action in Australia represented a tactical split with Google. Unlike Google, which threatened to stop operating its search engine in the country but relaxed its position.

Google and a group of French publishers have announced a framework agreement for the American company to negotiate licensing deals with individual publishers. News Corp will also collaborate with Google within the framework of the latter's News Showcase. In contrast, it said, "Google search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content". The Australian Broadcasting Corp.is in negotiations.

Some have already accused Facebook of pursuing a vendetta against the public by shutting out news from these public pages.

The Bureau of Meteorology's weather warnings, a Hobart women's shelter and the Betoota Advocate, a satirical website named after an Australian ghost town, were among those surprised to find their content blocked at least temporarily. "However, we will reverse any pages that are inadvertently impacted".

"We will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament as it votes on our important News Media Bargaining Code", said Prime Minister Morrison.

He said the government remains supportive of the proposed law because it will pay news organizations for the use of their material.

Complaints on Twitter are growing, as The Verge writes, although the extension is hard to analyze outside the country, as various content flagged as inaccessible can be viewed by other users in other geographies.

Caroline Fisher is co-author of the Digital News Report: Australia 2020, deputy director of the News and Media Research Center, and an associate professor of journalism at the University of Canberra. Caty Weaver was the editor. By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

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