Broken news: Facebook blocks Australia pages in dispute over law

Facebook has blocked Australian users of its platform from reading and sharing local and international news, stepping up its campaign against government plans to force technology giants to pay publishers for their news content.

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the move.

“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.”

Australia is trying to get technology companies, including Facebook and Google, to pay for the news that is widely shared on their sites, as the advertising revenue that once supported publishers evaporates. The law would force them to strike deals with media companies or have fees set for them.

Google has threatened to withdraw its search services from Australia, but at the same time has also started to secure agreements on revenue-sharing with publishers.

Facebook insists its relationship with the news industry is fundamentally different.

 

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