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Breaking: Facebook blocks Australians from sharing news

"This post can't be shared" appears barring Australians from engaging in news content.


Facebook has blocked Australians from accessing or sharing news in their feeds as its stand-off with the federal government spirals in a dramatic escalation of events. Thousands of Australians woke up on Thursday morning to find themselves unable to post any news story on their feeds. A pop up saying "This post can't be shared" appears barring Australians from engaging in news content.

In a blog post on Thursday morning, the social media giant said the decision was in response to the government's proposed legislation to create a mandatory news media bargaining code.

Facebook states that the proposed law fundamentally misunderstand the relationship between their platform and publishers who mainly use it to share the news. The Facebook statement said, "It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter."

Facebook also said it explained for months that "the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favour of the publishers — which is the reverse of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to assume".

 "Last year, Facebook generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million." The company said what it gained from news content was "minimal", and made up about 4 per cent of what people saw in their newsfeed.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg tweeted that he had held "constructive" talks with Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg this morning. At the same time, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said Facebook should "think very carefully about what this means for its reputation and standing".

According to the ABC, News Corp and Google will develop a subscription platform, share advertising revenue through Google's ad technology services, build out audio journalism and develop video journalism by YouTube.

The deal comes after years of public feuding between Mr Murdoch and Google, most recently in Australia, where Google has threatened to shut down its search engine to avoid "unworkable" content laws.

Stay tuned to South Asian Today for more.

About the author

Dilpreet is the founder of South Asian Today. More about her can be found here.

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