Australia’s Row with Facebook Deepens, Dares Tech Giant to Block News Content

Tony Abu Momoh
2 Min Read

The row between Australia and social media giant, Facebook deepened on Thursday after regulators dared the tech giant to block news content on its Australian platform as it threatened to do.

Facebook had threatened to stop Australians from sharing news on its platform after regulators proposed forcing the company as well as Google to pay local media outlets for news content.

The move had drawn vehement opposition from both US Tech giants with Facebook proposing to stop sharing news content altogether on its platform if the proposal was passed into law by the Australian government.

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The Australian regulators however insisted that Facebook will be weakened in the country if it goes ahead with its decision to block news content from being shared on its platform. The tech giants, as well as the Australian competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have been negotiating about the new proposal before it would be presented to the government.

On Thursday the head of the ACCC, Rod Sims said via Zoom,

“It would be a shame for Australian democracy (and) it would be a shame for Facebook users if they took that course of action. It would also weaken Facebook, so it’s their call. If people can’t get their news from Facebook then they’ll go elsewhere to get their news.”

The dispute between the tech giants and Australia has come on the heels of traditional media outlets losing advertising revenue to big social media companies. Asides from Australia, other countries have been trying to make social media giants pay for traffic to their platforms. They have been largely unsuccessful.

Facebook has opposed the Australians because it said the new provisions could force it to pay unlimited royalties to local Australian media outlets.

The outcome of the present dispute is being keenly observed by major players in the global media and advertising industry.

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Tony Abu Momoh is an enthusiastic individual who believes in the greatest good for the greatest number.
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