The Australians, on Thursday, woke up to empty feeds on their Facebook Accounts as the social media biggie blocked all media content for users there. For many weeks, there have been various escalations between Australia’s government and the Social Media Giant. Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook blocked Australian users from sharing or viewing news content on the platform overnight after it warned of pulling off their services on Wednesday.
Facebook Wiped Off Emergency and Health Care Services Information Pages
While people lost access to news on Facebook, the Tech Giant also blocked access to Government Health Pages and emergency services accounts too. This sparked a storm of criticism against Facebook as Politicians and publishers blasted the company online. These services are highly critical given Australia’s bushfire season and the global health crisis.
Treasurer ‘Josh Frydenberg’ said to the media that their decision was ‘wrong’ and ‘heavy-handed’. He also talked about the immense market power of these media digital giants, and they loom very largely in the economy. Facebook has undoubtedly made an important place among the popular sources of news in and around the globe. News consumers relied heavily on Facebook, with statistics showing that from 2018-2020, 40 % of Australians used Facebook for News.
Australian PM condemns the blackout by Facebook
The Australian Prime Minister, ‘Scott Morrison’, expressed his feelings on his Facebook account, saying that Facebook’s action to unfriend Australia and cutting off the essential health and emergency services channel of information was an arrogant and disappointing move. Besides Australia, other countries around the globe are also considering legislative proposals to make Facebook and Google share the revenues with the news publishers.
New Law will require Facebook to share revenue with media outlets
The move has been anticipated as an escalation by Facebook in a dispute with the government over a proposed law that asks the former to share revenue from their news. This law requires Facebook and Google to pay the country’s news publishers for content.
While Google and Facebook jointly condemned the postposed law and raised a voice against it, it seems Facebook took the abrupt call while Google has been signing pre-emptive deals with the news sources in Australia. On Wednesday, Google reached a landmark deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, owner of the Wall Street Journal, and 2/3rds of Australia’s major city newspaper to develop a subscription platform and share advertising revenue. There are also other tech giants who have begun to negotiate with news outlets in the country after years now.
In the coming weeks, the law will push Facebook and Google to strike commercial deals with the news outlets, whose links drive traffic to their platforms. Facebook argues that the news outlets voluntarily post their article links on Facebook to grow their audience and sell more subscriptions.
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