Sept 2 2020
Facebook Inc will block news sharing on its platforms in Australia if the country forced to share its revenue with local media outlets for featuring their content.
The tech giant said in a statement yesterday that a proposed legislation to compel it to pay local media misunderstands the dynamic of the internet and will damage news organisations.
“This is not our first choice – it is our last. But it is the only way to protect against an outcome that defies logic and will hurt, not help, the long-term vibrancy of Australia’s news and media sector,” said Facebook Australia managing director Will Easton.
He also claimed that the proposed law seeks to regulate every aspect of how tech companies do business with news publishers.
If the law is enacted, Australia will become the first country to require Facebook, along with Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay for news sourced from media companies under a royalty-style system.
Facebook’s threat of retaliation basically means that if the law is enacted, media companies and social media users in Australia would not be able to distribute any news articles on Facebook or photo and video-sharing site Instagram.
Traditional media companies in Australia, as elsewhere have suffered from the loss of advertising and subscription income no thanks to online competitors.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has stated that the proposed legislation would allow news businesses to negotiate for fair payment for journalists’ work.
It had pointed out that there was a power imbalance between the big social media and search platforms and smaller Australian publishers.