Published: Sun, February 21, 2021

Australia says Facebook endangered public safety with the new blockade

Australia says Facebook endangered public safety with the new blockade

Canada, India, France and the United Kingdom are just a few of the countries Morrison pointed to as preparing to emulate Australia in its stand for democratic principles against monopolistic mayhem.

Facebook has banned publishers and users in Australia from posting and sharing news content as the Australian government prepares to pass laws that will require social media companies to pay news publishers for sharing or using content on their platforms.

But the idea of shutting down the sort of sites they did yesterday as some sort of threat.

The blockade was a response to the passage of a bill by the House of Representatives on Wednesday night that would make Facebook and Google pay Australian media companies fair compensation for the journalism that the platforms link to.

There was public outrage at how the Facebook blockade was bungled, cutting access - at least temporarily - to pandemic, public health and emergency services.

Canada is following Australia in trying to rein in the power of tech giant Facebook.

We spoke to Matt Perault, a former director of public policy at Facebook, and began by asking him what he made of facebook's move in Australia.


Morrison said the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and France's Emmanuel Macron were also monitoring the issue closely.

"They should move quickly past that, come back to the table and we'll sort it out", he added.

News Corp Australia Executive Chairman Michael Miller, speaking to a separate Senate inquiry in Canberra, said the full impact of Facebook's decision was yet to be felt by publishers.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he had spoken with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday to find a way out of the showdown, and that negotiations would continue over the weekend.

Facebook has defended its dramatic response to the law, saying the legislation "fundamentally misunderstands" the platform's relationship with media organisations and that it had no choice but to bar news content from its services in Australia. "We want to work through this issue".

Mr Morrison said he was continuing to mobilise global support in the Federal Government's stoush with Facebook. "We'd like to remain very friendly and it's time for them to friend us again". No financial details were released.

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