Daily Management Review

Australia Pushes On With New Content Law Despite Facebook’s News Blackout


The Australian government will continue to push for implementing laws that are designed for force Facebook Inc to pay news outlets for content, said the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, adding that several world leaders had expressed support to his government’s stand after the social media company decided to stop publishing any news items from all sources in Australia earlier this week on its platform.
Apart from blocking its users in Australia on its platform from sharing any news content on Thursday, Facebook also brought down the pages of domestic and foreign news outlets for Australians. The social media company said that the company had no choice but to take this step as the government was intent on implementing the new content laws.
There was an outrage in Australia and elsewhere by this action of the Facebook which also omitted a number of government and emergency department accounts, as well as nonprofit charity sites.
The leaders of Britain, Canada, France and India had shown support for the actions of the Australian government, said Morrison while criticising Facebook on its own platform for ”unfriending” Australia.
”There is a lot of world interest in what Australia is doing,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
”That is why I invite … Facebook to constructively engage because they know that what Australia will do here is likely to be followed by many other Western jurisdictions.”
Under the proposed new law, large tech companies such as Facebook and Google will be forced to strike commercial agreements with Australian publishers or face compulsory arbitration. The draft of the new law has already been cleared by the federal lower house of the country. Analysts expect the law to be passed within the next week by the Senate.
After news blackout, he had spoken to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for a second time, said Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
”We talked through their remaining issues and agreed our respective teams would work through them immediately. We’ll talk again over the weekend,” Frydenberg said in a tweet.
The Australian law ”misunderstood” its value to publishers, Facebook said about the issue in a statement announcing the blackout move in Australia. “There is something much bigger here at stake than just one or two commercial deals. This is about Australia’s sovereignty”, Frydenberg had earlier told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The proposed new law in Australia was criticised and a campaign was previously organized together against the law by Facebook and Alphabet Inc owned Google as both the companies had threatened to withdraw key services from Australia in the eventuality of the law being enacted and implemented.
Over the past week, a host of preemptive licencing deals were however announced by Google which included a commercial deal with News Corp.
While restoring some government pages later in the face of criticism, Facebook continued to black out a number of charity, nonprofit and even neighbourhood groups on its platform.