Daily US Times: Facebook has blocked sharing or viewing news content for Australian users on the platform, causing much alarm over public access to key information.
On Thursday, Australians woke up to find the Facebook pages of all local and global news sites were unavailable.
Several government emergency, health and other pages were also blocked on Thursday – something the tech giant later asserted was a mistake.
The government of Australia said the ban threatened Facebook’s “credibility”.
Those outside of Australia are also unable to access or read any Australian news publications on the platform.
Facebook’s decision is in response to a proposed law in Australia which would make tech giants pay for news content.
Companies like Facebook and Google have argued the law doesn’t reflect how the internet works, and unfairly “penalises” their platforms.
The Australian government has said it is proceeding with the law, which on Wednesday passed parliament’s lower house.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher told the ABC: “Facebook needs to think very carefully about what this means for its reputation and standing.”
Facebook’s action came hours after another internet giant Google agreed to pay Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for content from news sites across its media empire.
Australia’s competition regulator said it had drawn up the laws to “level the playing field” between publishers and the tech giants over profits.
But Facebook said the law left it “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”.
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