Facebook blocks news sharing in Australia

Facebook blocks news sharing in Australia

Facebook has followed through on a threat to ban Australian media organisations from sharing news content, in response to the new Media Bargaining legislation currently before Parliament.

The restrictions have come into effect immediately, with Australian news publishers now blocked from posting any content, and Australian users unable to view or share any news articles, even if they are published by overseas companies.

According to a blog post from Facebook Australia & New Zealand managing director William Easton, the new Media Bargaining Code "fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content".

"It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia," Easton said.

"With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter."

The decision has different implications for particular users.

For Australian publishers it means:

  • They are restricted from sharing or posting any content on Facebook Pages
  • Admins will still be able to access other features from their Facebook Page, including Page insights and Creator Studio  
  • We will continue to provide access to all other standard Facebook services, including data tools and CrowdTangle

For international publishers it means:

  • They can continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts can't be viewed or shared by Australian audiences

For Australian users it means:

  • They cannot view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news Pages

For international users it means:

  • They cannot view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news Pages

"Our global commitment to invest in quality news also has not changed," Easton said.

"We recognise that news provides a vitally important role in society and democracy, which is why we recently expanded Facebook News to hundreds of publications in the UK.

"We hope that in the future the Australian government will recognise the value we already provide and work with us to strengthen, rather than limit, our partnerships with publishers."

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this morning said he spoke with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the social media giant's decision, with the pair agreeing to "try to find a pathway forward".

 

 

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