Facebook vs. the Australian News

Facebook has banned news in Australia after new legislation, but Australian users are the real victims


Graphic by Isaac Le/ SAC.Media

Should news viewing and sharing be free on social media? Or should tech companies pay the news publishers for displaying their content?
Here is what happens when a tech platform like Facebook disagrees with the government’s legislation.
Last week, Facebook blocked all news in Australia. It was because the Australian government proposed a new law that requires tech companies to pay news publishers for distributing their content.
This unexpected move by Facebook caused an uproar because many Australians use Facebook to read and share news.
To make matters worse, Facebook mistakenly blocked non-news organizations, government agencies and politicians. Charities and weather information were among those pages affected. Although some are now unblocked, there are others that are still waiting for clearance from Facebook’s support services.
Twitter user @joshgnosis tweeted.

For now, both Facebook and the Australian government are holding their ground. This standstill makes the Australian public the main victim of this feud. This ban restricted news published locally and globally through Facebook.
Users in Australia can no longer receive or share any news via Facebook, and news from Australian publishers on Facebook no longer can be viewed by international Facebook users.
One of the negative effects of this battle was pointed out by Blake Johnson, news reporter for television station 7NEWS Melbourne.
He tweeted.

Even though this happened in one part of the world, the turbulence still reached the rest of the world.
Canada and the United Kingdom are looking into implementing similar legislation on tech platforms that share news, not limiting to Facebook.
In the United States, the Department of Justice is looking to reform section 230 under the Communications Decency Act of 1996 in hopes to better regulate the tech platforms.
Governments are quickly starting to recognize the power and control these tech giants hold.