What's up between Google, Facebook and Australia?


Starting on Wednesday, Australian users will not be able read or share news content on Facebook news feeds, and Australian news publishers will be restricted from posting or sharing content on Facebook pages.

"There's definitely an influence" from Australia, said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Publishers Council, a lobbying group for media companies. An arbitration panel would prevent digital giants from abusing their dominant negotiating positions by making take-it-or-leave-it payment offers to news businesses for their journalism.

Facing a proposed law to compel internet companies to pay news organizations, Google has announced deals with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Seven West Media.

Speaking to Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Jack Snape about the fracas, Simon Milner, Facebook's head of policy for the Asia-Pacific region, appeared to blame Australian lawmakers for the potentially deadly mix-up.

"While I believe Facebook said that news links only account for 4% or so of content, the danger here is contagion if other countries pursue similar legislation with broader definitions of who is a publisher - could this spiral into Facebook paying influencers for their posts?", Shmulik said.

Google commands over a 90% search engine market share in Australia, so its absence would have a huge impact on consumers.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called Facebook "arrogant" and "disappointing" in a terse statement on Thursday afternoon, published on Facebook.

Along with local and global news sites, pages belonging to government health agencies and public welfare networks were also blocked from the platform - Facebook later said that was a mistake.

However, Facebook claims the proposed laws create a one-sided process that forces it to pay for news at a level beyond its value.

Facebook Inc on Thursday said that it was compelled to block content in Australia because local laws were unclear about the guidance and definition of news content.

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Jessica Ramos (D-Queens). "We need to utilize our leverage to hold (Cuomo) accountable and fight for justice for these families ". I expect the Department and administration to promptly fulfill all future information requests from the legislature.

The Facebook pages of government-led health organisations such as NSW Health and SA Health have been blocked, both of which have spent the last 11 months providing essential updates on the COVID-19 pandemic. The deal covers content from the News Corp's publications like Wall Street Journal, Barron's, MarketWatch and the New York Post, Britain's The Times and The Sunday Times, and The Sun as well as Australian media outlets like The Australian.

Facebook's algorithmic ambush switched off the main news source for nearly one in five Australians.

Facebook said the planned Australian law, expected to be passed by parliament within days, "fundamentally misunderstands" the relationship between itself and publishers and it faced a stark choice of complying or banning news. "And he will come back to me with some more considered views", Frydenberg said. Government websites, non-for-profits and even Facebook friend connections are still accessible on Facebook and can be useful sources of information.

Earlier, Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt accused the tech company of jeopardising the health of Australians as the country begins its coronavirus vaccine rollout.

Google, for its part, touted its increased support of local news and said it was in "early stage conversations with [other] USA publishers".

But Facebook insists the two companies have very different relationships with news publishers.

Organizer Rachel Chappel says Facebook's move has "completely shaken" her. He added, however, that "if commercial deals are struck [between media and tech groups], that changes the equation". An advertisement on News Corp's main Australian news site said, "You don't need Facebook to get your news", alongside a link to the company's smartphone app.

Ken Paulson, a former USA Today chief editor who is now an academic at Middle Tennessee State University, said the social media giant risks eroding trust in global information if the blackout becomes widespread: "Facebook without real news would be a conspiracist's fantasy".

In the UK, Facebook has agreed partnership deals with publishers including the Daily Mail Group, Financial Times, the Guardian, Sky News and Telegraph.