18 Feb 2021: Facebook blocks Australians from viewing and sharing news content
Facebook has chosen to play hardball with Australian authorities by refusing to buckle under the pressure of implementing the country's contentious news media code. The social media platform has blocked its Australian users from viewing and sharing news.
The proposed law will force Big Tech giants to negotiate a revenue sharing deal with Australian publishing and broadcasting outlets in order to use their content.
Global ramifications: Facebook users outside Australia cannot share local content either
This development also affects Facebook users outside of Australia, because it is no longer possible to share news content from Australian media outlets for all users irrespective of their location.
The drastic move comes despite Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stating that negotiation with Facebook were "very promising". Meanwhile, the country's Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said that Australia will not back down from its decision.
Pulling a Parler?: Australia ominously calls out credibility of news content on Facebook
Fletcher continued his hardline stance on the matter by calling out the credibility of news content on Facebook due to its effective ban on Australian publications that follow strong editorial policies and fact-checking processes.
These comments could foreshadow impending sanctions against Facebook. Accusations of perpetrating news of questionable credibility and conspiracy theories have led to the ban of social media entities, such as Parler.
Fact: Communications Minister calls out Facebook's credibility
"Effectively Facebook is saying to Australians information that you see on our platforms does not come from organizations that have editorial policies or fact-checking processes or journalists who are paid to do the work they do," said Fletcher.
Capitulating: Google had already backed down and launched News Showcase
Both Google and Facebook had threatened to prevent Australian citizens from viewing news content on their services in response to the digital news media code.
However, Google called off its threat and quietly acquiesced by launching News Showcase in Australia, where it agreed to pay the country's media outlets for sharing their news.
Facebook, however, has stuck to its guns and refused to comply.