Daily US Times: Facebook is facing mounting criticism after it blocked news sharing and viewing in Australia amid a dispute with the government over a proposed law.
The law will force tech giants like Facebook and Google to pay for news content on their platforms.
Facebook says the law “fundamentally misunderstands” its relationship with publishers.
But publishers, rights groups and politicians in several countries have accused it of bullying, and raised concerns over access to information.
Australian users are blocked from viewing and sharing local and international news, under Facebook’s new rules, while local publishers are restricted from sharing or posting any links on their pages.
Several government health and emergency pages were also blocked, but Facebook later acknowledged this was a mistake and many of these pages are now back online.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement posted on Facebook that the social media company’s actions to “unfriend Australia” were “as arrogant as they were disappointing”.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Morrison later raised the issue with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as he sought to gain international support.
Other Australian officials have also criticised Facebook’s move. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the ban on news content had a “huge community impact”. About 17 million Australians visit Facebook every month. It is the most important social platform for news in Australia.
Criticism came from Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan as he accused the social media of “behaving like a North Korean dictator”.