Facebook has blocked Australian users from sharing or viewing news content on the platform, causing alarm over public access to key information. Australians woke up this morning to find the Facebook pages of all local and global news sites were unavailable. Several government health, emergency and other pages were also blocked. Later the tech giant asserted it was a mistake.
Those outside of Australia are also unable to read or access any Australian news publications on the platform. Facebook’s move is in response to a proposed law in Australia which would make tech giants pay for news content.
Companies like Google and Facebook have argued the law doesn’t reflect how the internet works, and unfairly “penalises” their platforms. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said that Facebook needs to think very carefully about what this means for its reputation and standing.
It is worth recalling that Google has reached a landmark global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, owner of the Wall Street Journal and two-thirds of Australia’s major city newspapers, to develop a subion platform and share advertising revenue.