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Facebook's ultimatum will block Australians' news

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on September 1, 2020 - Duration: 01:41s

Facebook's ultimatum will block Australians' news

[NFA] Facebook Inc on Tuesday said it would stop Australians from sharing news content on its platforms if a proposal to make it pay local media outlets for their content becomes law, a sharp ultimatum thrown toward the Australian government.

Olivia Chan reports.

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Facebook's ultimatum will block Australians' news

Facebook has an an ultimatum for the Australian government: Australia is planning to force Facebook to pay news organizations for content that appears on the social media platform.

If this goes forward, Facebook says, the company will simply block Australian users from sharing news articles altogether.

It's the latest in an ongoing battle between Australia and Internet giants including Google.

The proposed law in Canberra would make the country the first to make the social media giant and Google pay for news sourced from local providers under a royalty-style system.

Australia's treasury minister, Josh Frydenberg: "We won't be responding to coercion or heavy-handed tactics (...) We want a sustainable media environment and key to that is to see payment for original journalistic content.

So we're committed to these reforms. We won't be bullied no matter how big the international company is.

No matter how powerful they are.

No matter how valuable they are." Facebook's plan to block the sharing of news on Australian user accounts, rather than pay those royalties, puts the firm broadly in step with Google on the matter.

This pushes the prospect of an agreement with the government further out of reach.

Facebook has called the legislation "unprecedented in its reach." Like in most countries, Australia's traditional media companies in recent years have seen their regular advertising income eroded by online competitors, and consumers have shied away from paid subscriptions.

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