Australia and Facebook in talks over sweeping news ban

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Morrison, who blasted Facebook on its own platform for "unfriending" Australia, said on Friday the leaders of Britain, Canada, France and India had shown support.

"The focus on Facebook and Google is misguided", he said. It still needs Senate approval to become law.

Since the ban came into effect, visits to Australian news sites by users at home and abroad dropped significantly, with overseas traffic down by over 20 percent per day, according to data analytics company Chartbeat.

This discussion has focused on United States technology companies and how they benefit from news content on their services.

The legislation mentioned by the notice has not yet been enacted. "With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter", a Facebook spokesperson told 9News.

The decision was received about as well as you'd imagine, with Australian PM Scott Morrison calling Facebook's actions "arrogant" and "disappointing" in a statement shared on Facebook.

Facebook made the announcement Wednesday as Australia put the finishing touches on legislation that would force digital platforms to pay for news and links under a threat of government-imposed arbitration.

April 2020 - The government directed the ACCC to draft a mandatory code after the regulator advised that the businesses were unlikely to reach voluntary agreement and COVID-19 exacerbated the pressures faced by Australia media. "It is an assault on people's freedom and, in particular, it's an utter abuse of big technologies' market power and control over technology".

Publishers lined up to express surprise that Facebook, headed by Mark Zuckerberg, had taken such action.

Mike Masnick, founder of Techdirt, warned against conflating broader concerns about the power and influence of tech giants with the dispute over monetization of news. The proposed law would create a panel to make binding decisions on the price of news reports to help give individual publishers more negotiating leverage with global internet companies. In recent days, Google has sealed pre-emptive deals with several outlets in Australia under its own News Showcase model. Nevertheless, it recently rushed to sign payment deals with major Australian media outlets.

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As the bill moved through and passed the lower house, Google struck deals with free-to-air network Seven West Media Ltd and rival Nine Entertainment Co Holdings, which also owns the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's The Age newspapers.

He said that Facebook's response to Australia's law showed that the company was "trying to protect its dominant position with scant regard for the citizens and customers it supposedly serves".

The move, which also erased several state government and emergency department accounts, as well as nonprofit charity sites, caused widespread outrage.

"We represent people and I'm sorry but you can't run bulldozer over that - and if Facebook thinks it'll do that it will face the same long-term ire as the likes of big oil and tobacco", said Knight, a member of the ruling Conservative party.

Mr Hunt said: "This is outrageous and unacceptable".

"They should move quickly past that, come back to the table and we'll sort it out", he added. Meanwhile, Facebook's image in Australia as a harmless online gathering spot was marred by revelations it sold third-party marketers the personal data of millions of people to target in the 2016 USA election.

Mr. Easton argued that Facebook's situation is fundamentally different from Google because Facebook users voluntarily post content on the platform whereas Google's indexing of the internet via its search engine is more "inextricably intertwined" with the news.

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Frydenberg said after weekend talks with Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google, that he was convinced the platforms "do want to enter into these commercial arrangements".

Critics said they fear that stripping Australian users of legitimate news sources will only worsen that problem. They already pay some news organizations for content.

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