Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,669
16,837


Facebook has followed through on its threat to ban users from sharing news on its platform in Australia, in response to proposed media laws in the country that the company claims "fundamentally misunderstand" its relationship with publishers who share news content.

facebook.jpg

The move is a retaliation to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) proposed Media Bargaining law, which seeks to redress the balance in terms of the bargaining power between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms.

The law would allow Australian news publications to negotiate for fair payment for their journalist's work, effectively forcing social media companies to pay for news content.

Facebook and Google have had three months to negotiate with Australian media organizations to find a solution, but those discussions have failed to reach an agreement. Facebook concluded that the law "seeks to penalize Facebook for content it didn't take or ask for," while an inquiry last month saw Google go so far as to threaten to pull its search engine from the country entirely.

Facebook' decision means Australian news publishers are no longer able to share stories on the platform, while Facebook users won't be able to see or share international news to local Facebook users. At the same time, Facebook users overseas won't be able to read or share Australian content.

Announcing the change in a press release, Facebook explained its reasoning behind the nationwide content block and its total opposition to the proposed change in law:
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.

This discussion has focused on US technology companies and how they benefit from news content on their services. We understand many will ask why the platforms may respond differently. The answer is because our platforms have fundamentally different relationships with news. 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.

In fact, and as we have made clear to the Australian government for many months, the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favor of the publishers — which is the reverse of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to assume. Last year Facebook generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million.

For Facebook, the business gain from news is minimal. News makes up less than 4% of the content people see in their News Feed. Journalism is important to a democratic society, which is why we build dedicated, free tools to support news organisations around the world in innovating their content for online audiences.
Australia's communications minister Paul Fletcher hit out at the decision, telling Australia's ABC News this morning that Facebook needs to "think very carefully about what this means for its reputation and standing."

"They're effectively saying, on our platform, there will not be any information from organizations which employ paid journalists, which have fact checking processes, editorial policies," said Fletcher. "They're effectively saying any information that is available on our site does not come from these reliable sources."

The fallout from the ban is already impacting a range of Facebook-hosted organizations in the country, with the ban curtailing access to the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Queensland Health, and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA. Other pages for charities, politicians, sports groups, and other non-news organizations have also been affected.

However, the Australian government is standing by the law, which passed the lower house of parliament on Wednesday. It has broad cross-party support and will be debated again in parliament on Thursday, according to the BBC.
"We will legislate this code. We want the digital giants paying traditional news media businesses for generating original journalistic content," said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who added that "the eyes of the world are watching what's happening here". He said he'd also had a discussion with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg which had been "constructive".
The decision by the social network has been met with anger among many of its Australian users, with the hashtag #DeleteFacebook currently trending on Twitter.

Article Link: Facebook Blocks All News Sharing on Its Platforms in Australia
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,689
596
Location Location Location
I’m Canadian living in Australia, and I’m actually on Facebook’s side on this one.

The Australian government is basically doing this for Rupert Murdoch and News Corp (Rupert is sort of a big deal around here), but even if they weren’t, it would still be wrong for thr government to do this. News outlets want Facebook to pay for news published on Facebook. Facebook probably has no problem with news links being posted on their site because it helps make them socially relevant.

On the other hand, news outlets benefit from the extra clicks, and ad revenue that goes with it. Some people get all their news on Facebook (and Twitter), so this seems to be a symbiotic relationship for the media and FB.

The government should stay out of it.
 

steve09090

macrumors 6502
Aug 12, 2008
300
715
I’m Canadian living in Australia, and I’m actually on Facebook’s side on this one.

The Australian government is basically doing this for Rupert Murdoch and News Corp (Rupert is sort of a big deal around here), but even if they weren’t, it would still be wrong for thr government to do this. News outlets want Facebook to pay for news published on Facebook. Facebook probably has no problem with news links being posted on their site because it helps make them socially relevant.

On the other hand, news outlets benefit from the extra clicks, and ad revenue that goes with it. Some people get all their news on Facebook (and Twitter), so this seems to be a symbiotic relationship for the media and FB.

The government should stay out of it.
I’m an Australian living in Australia and I agree with you.

The media today are totally bagging FB, but that’s because it’s in their own interest to
1) criticise them for banning their news
2) make them look bad to try and extort money out of them for their 'free' available news.

Personally, it’s been great to not see trash news on my FB feed and just see what my friends had for lunch or what their kids did in school today.
 

Celtic-moniker

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2009
126
87
Melbourne Australia
I’m Canadian living in Australia, and I’m actually on Facebook’s side on this one.

The Australian government is basically doing this for Rupert Murdoch and News Corp (Rupert is sort of a big deal around here), but even if they weren’t, it would still be wrong for thr government to do this. News outlets want Facebook to pay for news published on Facebook. Facebook probably has no problem with news links being posted on their site because it helps make them socially relevant.

On the other hand, news outlets benefit from the extra clicks, and ad revenue that goes with it. Some people get all their news on Facebook (and Twitter), so this seems to be a symbiotic relationship for the media and FB.

The government should stay out of it.
You are being deliberately one sided with the facts here. That material shared on Facebook brings eyes and ad revenue to Facebook that far rivals the eyes and revenue that those media outlets gain. By a factor of around 10 to one. It isn’t just social relevance. It is very much a driver of their revenue.
Additionally, Facebook tracks, records and sells the data metrics you develop by clicking through to those sites. As a surrogate central body they have capacity to do this that no other individual media outlet has to achieve. They, without a shadow of a doubt are making far more money from each shared story than the news service itself is making - from material that they never had to put any energy or money into creating.
lt’s a government‘s responsibility to regulate this. Once upon a time the news agent down the street had to pay they newspaper printer for to copies of the paper they sold. Facebook should be paying the same.
 

contacos

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2020
1,245
4,318
Mexico City living in Berlin
Sadly the EU is next with this BS soon

„[…] platforms will be forced in the future to check content for copyrighted material as soon as it is uploaded. With the vast amounts of data uploaded to YouTube or Facebook every day, this is only possible with automated software. […] Protected video and sound clips must now be under 15 seconds long, images under 125 kb, and text under 160 characters […] „
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: wbeasley

BvizioN

macrumors 603
Mar 16, 2012
5,477
4,042
Manchester, UK
I don't really get it. Don't news outlets need people to share links to articles to gain traffic and as a result clicks which result in ad revenue? Why do Facebook have to pay someone if I decide to share a link to a news article?
It baffles me as well. Not a fan of FB, matter of fact I depise FB, but this just makes no sense to me. Having to pay for articles shared by users on your platform? Sure, must be more convincing away of grabing money from tech giants.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.