Social media giant Facebook has been at the receiving end of a lot of criticism lately and the company has now made enemies with Australian news publications as it has decided to block both Australian users and media companies from sharing links to news articles and related content on its platform. Also Read - WhatsApp announces rollout of end-to-end encrypted backups for Android, iOS
This move comes after the Australian government decided to pass a law that would force Facebook to pay Australian news organisations for using their content. Also Read - Facebook launches Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses alongside new Facebook View app
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The platform has been facing severe backlash because of this decision and many users have taken to Twitter to criticise the company for the same. Many users opposing this move are using ‘#DeleteFacebook’ with their tweets. Also Read - WhatsApp multi-device for iPad users in the works, release expected soon
The bill was passed by the Australian House of Representatives today and also targets Google, which at a point last month decided to leave the country due to the same reason. However, Google later managed to cut a deal with major Australian publications to comply with the law of the land.
As per William Easton, the managing director of Facebook Australia & New Zealand, “The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.”
“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.”, Easton said in a Facebook blog post.
Facebook is saying that it will deploy a “combination of technologies” to restrict news content on its platform and will also have processes of reviewing the content that is posted by users. It will also review any content that was inadvertently removed. The company also says that changes in the way news content are shared on the platform will not affect the company’s other products or services in Australia.
Facebook vs Google news sharing
Facebook also said that the way publishers share news on its platform is different from how readers are accessing news on Google.
“Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content. On the other hand, publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audiences and increase advertising revenue,” Easton argues.
“We were prepared to launch Facebook News in Australia and significantly increase our investments with local publishers, however, we were only prepared to do this with the right rules in place,” Easton added. “This legislation sets a precedent where the government decides who enters into these news content agreements, and ultimately, how much the party that already receives value from the free service gets paid. We will now prioritise investments to other countries, as part of our plans to invest in new licensing news programs and experiences.”