Facebook’s threat to block Australian users from sharing news links on the social network turned out to be serious. This came after the country’s proposed landmark regulatory policy that insists tech titans pay Australian media organizations for using their content.
Facebook blocked Australian users from sharing news links
It now stops publishers and people in Australia to post any news links or share news on the social media platform. Users in other countries can also not post or share links from Australian publishers.
In Australia, the federal government is passing legislation that would compel the company and other online platforms to pay publishers when they display and link to their content.
“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.” – Facebook
Google has also assured to disable Search in the country if the legislation passes it. Facebook’s action came soon after Google has signed a three-year contract to use content from News Corp publications.
Easton’s blog post on the Facebook new policy
“Over the last three years we’ve worked with the Australian Government to find a solution that recognizes the realities of how our services work. We’ve long worked toward rules that would encourage innovation and collaboration between digital platforms and news organisations. Unfortunately this legislation does not do that. Instead it seeks to penalise Facebook for content it didn’t take or ask for.” – William Easton, the managing director of Facebook Australia & New Zealand.
Consequences of Facebook policy
Facebook’s change in policy to block Australian users will have grave consequences for both users and media organizations. Easton, in a recent blog post, mentions four categories that will face consequences.
Australian publishers: “They are restricted from sharing or posting any content on Facebook Pages. Admins will still be able to access other features from their Facebook Page, including Page insights and Creator Studio. We will continue to provide access to all other standard Facebook services, including data tools and CrowdTangle.”
International publishers: “They can continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts can’t be viewed or shared by Australian audiences.”
Australian community: “They cannot view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news Pages.”
International community: “They cannot view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news Pages.”
Facebook appears to act wisely by taking the opposite approach from Google because the nature of its products will not let it lose much.
“For Facebook, the business gain from news is minimal. News makes up less than 4% of the content people see in their News Feed.” Easton wrote.