Facebook threatens to block news on Australian sites

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Earlier today, Facebook responded to the ACCC's draft news media bargaining code, which forces the social media giant, as well as Google, to pay news publishers, by threatening to take down all local and global news content in Australia if it becomes legislated.

Following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the US platforms, the Australian government late a year ago told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content. In the letter, Google Australia also alleged "The law would force us to give an unfair advantage to one group of businesses - news media businesses - over everyone else who has a website, YouTube channel or small business".

He said that the new regulation "misunderstands the dynamics of the internet" and that Facebook already invests "millions of dollars in Australian news businesses". Government officials quickly shot back, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg rejecting what he called "coercion or heavy-handed threats" from the social media giant.

The government said in July that the plan is created to address the "acute bargaining power imbalances between Australian news businesses and Google and Facebook".

"I suspect when they implement it they will use pop up messages telling people they can't share news content because of the ACCC, directing anger towards the government", she suggests. Facebook on Tuesday also informed Australian users of a change in its terms of service that will come into effect on October 1 and allow it to remove or block access to content if "necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts".

Mr Easton adds that Facebook was hoping to introduce Facebook News - a dedicated news section where it paid news publishers for their content.

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Regulators, on the other hand, say the move is needed to level the playing field for the news media in Australia.

"Our reforms to digital platforms are world leading and following a ground breaking 18 month inquiry by the ACCC".

The draft legislation that aims to make Australia succeed where other countries have failed in forcing the companies to compensate media businesses for news content was made public in July.

Facebook isn't entirely alone in this battle, with Google declaring their dissatisfaction with the potential law, though, they have stopped short of throwing their toys out of the pram.

'Since Facebook News launched a year ago in the U.S., publishers we partner with have seen the benefit of additional traffic and new audiences. In June, Google said it would pay some media outlets that will be featured in a yet-to-be-released news service in Germany, Australia and Brazil.

"Unfortunately, no business can operate that way", he wrote. For every 100 Australian dollars ($74) spent on online advertising in Australia, excluding classifieds, almost a third goes to Google and Facebook, the competition regulator said.

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