Published: Sat, February 20, 2021
Tech | By

Why Facebook Blocked Australian News Sites

Why Facebook Blocked Australian News Sites

He said that Facebook's response to Australia's law showed that the company was "trying to protect its dominant position with scant regard for the citizens and customers it supposedly serves".

The move, which also erased several state government and emergency department accounts, as well as nonprofit charity sites, caused widespread outrage.

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

In a press conference, Frydenberg said "Facebook is wrong, this kind of action is unnecessary". It still needs Senate approval to become law.

"When Facebook traffic dropped off, overall Australian traffic did not shift to other platforms". Governments around the world are changing their laws to have some control over fast-changing technology.

Australian radio and television personality George Donikian was "appalled" to see his online news service, The Informer, scrapped overnight.

"The concept of paying a very small group of website or content creators for appearing purely in our organic search results sets a risky precedent for us that presents an unmanageable risk from a product and business-model point of view", Ms. Silva said to the committee. Murdoch's company said Xenophon was "instrumental in having Australia adopt a world first, highly innovative policy approach".

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

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during Question Time in the House of Representatives on February 18, 2021 in Canberra, Australia.

"These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them", he continued. "Removing high-quality news sources from Facebook will likely mean a boost for lower-quality blog posts, memes, and other junk", he wrote, although he added that he thought the news outage would not last long.


Facebook said the proposed Australian law "misunderstands the relationship between our platform and [the] publishers who use it".

Health Minister Greg Hunt called the move "an assault on a sovereign nation" and "an utter abuse of big technology's market power".

Google contends the law requires it to "pay for clicks" by users and has attempted to head off the coming law. Thus, Google boasts almost 95 percent of the search engine market share in Australia. The company cleared several government-operated accounts in Australia.

Google, however, announced a host of preemptive licencing deals over the past week, including a global agreement with News Corp.

Benedict Evans, a digital media analyst and former partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, said the argument that Facebook would willingly pay for news article links on its platform if not for its dominance is misguided, and no other website pays publishers to link stories. Rival Nine Entertainment is reportedly close to its own pact, and state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp.is in negotiations. For her part, Poppy Reid, managing editor of Rolling Stone in Australia, has labelled Mark Zuckerberg a "dictator". "However, we will reverse any pages that are inadvertently impacted".

But he says he's carrying on with plans for a federal bill on compensation for news links, to be introduced this spring.

"I think they're nearly using Australia as a test of strength for global democracies as to whether or not they wish to impose restrictions on the way in which they do business", he said.

Morrison said his government was "happy to listen to them on the technical issues", but remained determined to pass the law.

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.

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