Facebook announced Monday that it plans to stop publishers and people in Australia from sharing both local and international news on the social media platform. In a blog post, Facebook Australia & New Zealand managing director Will Easton wrote that the new plan comes after the country required the platform to pay local digital media companies for their content.
“Assuming this draft code becomes law, we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram,” Easton wrote. “This is not our first choice – it is our last. But it is the only way to protect against an outcome that defies logic and will hurt, not help, the long-term vibrancy of Australia’s news and media sector.”
Easton continued stating that the Australian Government’s new law shares Facebook’s goal of supporting local news outlets and newspapers. He also shared that the social media platform has worked “extensively” with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. He added the Australian law would “regulate every aspect” of the tech company-publisher relationship and that allowing local publishers to post content comes at a price that “ignores the financial value” the platform brings outlets.
The statement says that Facebook continues to invest largely in Australian news businesses and even proposed features that would highlight news content from local publishers. Easton writes that such suggestions, when proposed, went overlooked.
“Instead, we are left with a choice of either removing news entirely or accepting a system that lets publishers charge us for as much content as they want at a price with no clear limits,” he writes. “Unfortunately, no business can operate that way.”
While Australian users can still use the social media platform to keep connected with friends and family, Easton said the site cannot continue to keep the news feature up and running without proper regulation.
“But successful regulation, like the best journalism, will be grounded in and built on facts. In this instance, it is not,” the Facebook rep concluded.
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