On Wednesday, Facebook said it will be preventing people inside Australia from seeing and accessing news stories on its platform.
In addition, Facebook users in other areas will not have the opportunity of viewing or sharing news stories from Australian outlets. This moves came as a response to proposed legislation that would force social media platforms to pay Australian news organizations for links shared on its sites.
The announcement by Facebook came the same day Google said it had reached a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal, to pay for its journalism.
Facebook chose the nuclear option rather than bargain with news publishers in Australia.
“Today we made an incredibly difficult decision to restrict the availability of news on Facebook in Australia,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, in a blog post.
“What the proposed law introduced in Australia fails to recognize is the fundamental nature of the relationship between our platform and publishers.”
According to Brown, News publishers choose to share stories on Facebook, which allows the outlets to find new readers and subscribers, leading to revenue the news organizations would not have found without the social network.
Media organizations in country, like the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has expressed dismay over Facebook’s action.
“Despite key issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic having ongoing effects on all Australians, Facebook has today removed important and credible news and information sources from its Australian platform,” David Anderson, the broadcaster’s managing director, said in a statement.
“We will continue our discussions with Facebook today following this development.”
According to Facebook, news stories make up less than 4% of what people see on the the site.
Facebook and Google have vigorously fought the proposed legislation in Australia and have publicly threatened to pull out of the country over the effort to compensate news organizations.