Australia’s government has condemned Facebook for its shock move to stop Australians from sharing news that also blocked some government communications and commercial pages
Australia’s government resisted the measure, which also blocked some government communications, including messages about emergency services, and also some commercial pages.
The electronic platforms fear that what’s happening in Australia will develop into an expensive precedent for other nations as governments revamp laws to catch up with the fast changing digital world.
Facebook acted after the House of Representatives passed legislation which would make it and Google cover Australian journalism, stated Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. He said he was given no warning before Facebook acted. The legislation must be passed by the Senate to become law.
Australian news organizations could not post stories and individuals who strove to share existing news reports got notifications saying that they had been blocked from doing so.
“This post can’t be shared,” the website said. “In reaction to Australian government legislation, Facebook limits the posting of information links and posts from news Pages in Australia. Globally, the sharing and posting of information links from Australian publications is restricted.”
The legislation mentioned by the note has not yet been enacted.
“Facebook’s actions were unnecessary, they had been heavy-handed and they’ll damage its reputation here in Australia,” Frydenberg said.
“Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were arrogant as they were unsatisfactory,” Morrison posted.
“These activities will merely confirm the concerns an increasing number of nations are expressing about the behavior of BigTech companies who believe they are bigger than authorities and the rules shouldn’t apply to them. They may be changing the world, but that does not mean they operate it,” he added. “We will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament.”
Facebook reported the Australian legislation”fundamentally misunderstands the connection between our platform and publishers using it.”
“That is an attack on a sovereign state,” Health Minster Greg Hunt told Parliament. “It is an attack on people’s liberty and, in particular, it is a complete abuse of big technologies’ market control and power over technology”
The government claims the projected News Media Bargaining Code will guarantee media businesses will be compensated fairly for journalism linked online. Both Google and Facebook had threatened to retaliate.
Australia’s proposal requires a negotiation safety net via a mediation panel. The digital giants would not have the ability to abuse their dominant negotiating positions by making take-it-or-leave-it payment provides to information companies for their own journalism.
Google had threatened to remove its search purposes from Australia since it stated the law was unworkable. But that danger has faded as Google has worked out licensing content prices with Australian media companies under its News Showcase version.
Major Australian media business Seven West Media attained a deal earlier in the week.
The authorities accused Facebook of undermining public safety by temporarily blocking state emergency services messaging on a day when there were severe flood and fire warnings in a variety of parts of Australia.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s weather warnings, a Hobart women’s shelter and the Betoota Advocate, a satirical site named after a Australian ghost town, were among those surprised to discover their content blocked at least briefly.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher stated he told Facebook the government expects access to its own pages to be restored.
“The fact that there are organizations such as state health departments, emergency and fire services… who have experienced their Facebook pages obstructed, that’s a public safety problem,” Fletcher said.
Facebook stated in a statement:”Any pages which are inadvertently affected, we will look to undo.”
Health Minster Greg Hunt said the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne still didn’t have its feed fixed after more than eight hours.
Both share titles with news outlets in Australia. Facebook’s U.K. PR firm didn’t reply to a request for comment.
Frydenberg stated he’d”constructive” discussions with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg following the material blocking started.
“He did explain to me that they had issues with aspects of the code, and it goes to the interpretation of a number of its components. And he’ll come back to me with some more considered views,” Frydenberg said.
He said the government remains committed to the code that’s yielding generous payment agreements using Google for Australian media.
“Other countries are seeing, but also Google and Facebook and other digital giants are extremely focused on what it means, so far as a precedent goes, for other countries,” Frydenberg said.
News Corp. said it would get”major payments” from Google beneath the three-year agreement, which includes heavyweight news organizations throughout the English-speaking world such as The Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the U.S., the Times and the Sun in the U.K., as well as also The Australian and Sky News in Australia. The deal spans audio and video and News Corp. also will get an advertisement revenue share from Google.
Frydenberg stated after weekend talks with Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google, he had been convinced that the platforms”do want to enter into these commercial structures.”
“it is a massive step forward we have observed this week,” Frydenberg stated of those Google deals.
“But if this was simple, every other country in the world could have done it already. But they haven’t,” he explained.