Facebook said Wednesday it would block news content sharing in Australia and refuse to bow to a regulatory push that would force the social giant to share revenues with media.
Facebook’s dramatic move comes with Australia poised to pass laws that would force digital platforms to pay for news content.
Facebook’s move was in contrast to Google, which has brokered deals with media groups for the past few days, including one that it did earlier in the day with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. was announced in response to regulatory pressure.
“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and the publishers who use it to share news content,” said William Easton, Facebook executive for Australia and New Zealand.
“We face a difficult decision: try to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship or stop allowing news content about our services in Australia. It is with a heavy heart that we choose the latter.”
Earlier this week, Australian officials said the two U.S. tech giants were on the verge of entering into deals with major Australian media outlets to pay for news in order to resolve a stalemate that has been closely watched around the world.
The companies had threatened to partially withdraw services from the country if the rules go into effect, sparking a war of words with Canberra.
A Facebook statement said that due to the new policy, people in Australia will “not be able to view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news sites.”
– ‘Exchange of value’ –
Easton said Facebook has argued to Australian officials that “Facebook and publishers trade in favor of publishers” and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the country’s media organizations.
“We’ve worked long and hard on rules that encourage innovation and collaboration between digital platforms and news organizations,” said Easton.
“Unfortunately, this legislation doesn’t do that. Instead, it tries to punish Facebook for content that it hasn’t taken or requested.”
The Australian competition watchdog has claimed that for every $ 100 spent on online advertising, Google makes $ 53, Facebook makes $ 28, and the rest is shared among others, giving the media the support they need the revenue required for journalism.
“Our goal was to find a solution that would strengthen collaboration with publishers, but the legislation doesn’t recognize fundamental relationships between us and news organizations,” she tweeted.
Google went the other way on Wednesday, announcing it had closed a deal that would make “substantial payments” to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for content.
In a joint statement, the deal was described as an “historic multi-year partnership,” which will include news from the media giant in the Google News Showcase. The deal includes content from News Corp’s Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch and the New York Post in the United States. The Times and The Sunday Times based in the UK and The Sun, as well as a range of Australian media outlets including The Australian.
News Corp was the last major private medium to ever hit a deal and was instrumental in helping the conservative Australian government crack down on the tech giants.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)