Australians woke up early on the 18th and found that the whole country had been “bullied” by the American social media giant Facebook! According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Facebook issued a complete blockade on “Australian News” on the evening of the 17th, announcing that it would restrict the sharing or access of domestic and international news content by the media and users in Australia from the 18th, and that Australian users will not be able to pass through Facebook even when traveling.
Get any news, and Facebook users abroad will not be able to obtain or share any news content in Australia. Once Facebook’s statement was released, the anger of the Australian federal government and the whole country was instantly ignited.
Trying to comply with the law or ban news content in Australian services? Facebook “chosen the latter with a deep heart”. Facebook, which used Facebook every day, was about 14 million Australians, and the company pushed about 5.1 billion pieces of news for Australian news publishing institutions for free last year, which is estimated to be worth more than 400 million Australian dollars.
But Facebook said that news content accounted for only 4% of user pushes, and the benefits it brought were “minimal”.
The Sydney Morning Herald said bluntly on the 18th that Facebook’s statement was a retaliation measure against the Australian government’s mandatory bargaining bill on news media and digital platforms.
The bill was passed in the Australian House of Representatives on the evening of the 17th. The purpose of the bill is to redistribute profits in the Internet economy and force technology giants to negotiate with media companies to compensate for the use of media content.
The bill will be voted on by the Senate next week and will take effect as soon as next week, according to the report. In response, Facebook responded in a statement that the above-mentioned bill fundamentally misunderstood the relationship between the platform and the news media that uses it to publish content.
Moreover, since Australia’s proposed Mandatory Negotiation Bill on News Media and Digital Platforms does not clearly define news business or news content, Facebook will also use broad criteria to define what a news page is.
Therefore, according to many Australian media reports, in addition to news agencies, some Australian official institutions that are not part of traditional news have been “hacked” by Facebook, and pages, including government health agencies, social services, trade union groups and meteorological bureaus, have been emptied.
However, Facebook said it would continue to provide information about the coronavirus epidemic.
The Australian government does not buy this statement from Facebook. Australian Prime Minister Morrison attacked the company’s practices on his Facebook account on the 18th.
He wrote: “Facebook has blackened Australia and cut off important channels of information about health and emergency services, which is both arrogant and disappointing.
This confirms the concern of many countries that the technology giants think they are larger than governments and that the rules do not apply to them.” Morrison pointed out that Facebook’s move amounted to “bullying” and said that “it will not prevent the government from legislating to regulate digital content”.
Australian Treasury Secretary Fredenberg criticized Facebook’s blocking of Australian news media at a press conference on the 18th.
He said Facebook had expressed concern about the government’s legislation on the news media, but did not remind the government that the platform would block official news.
Fredenberg criticized Facebook’s decision to block Australians from accessing government websites has nothing to do with media rules, “what happened today proves to all Australians how much market influence digital media giants have”. Western Australian Governor McGowan believes that Facebook’s move has damaged the Australian-American alliance.
The Financial Times said on the 18th that blatantly resisting the Australian government’s efforts to let large technology companies pay for news is one of the most far-reaching restrictions imposed by Facebook on the news media.
Facebook’s extreme measures come as Google, which controls half of the world’s digital advertising market, has signed payment agreements worth tens of millions of Australian dollars with two major local media groups, allowing Google to reprint its news content.
Media tycoon Murdoch’s News Corporation also reached a three-year business agreement with Google. Two distinct practices mark a turning point in the media industry, which hopes that Australia’s strict regulation will help reset its global terms of dealing with Google and Facebook.