Facebook threatens news sharing ban in Australia

Facebook has threatened to prevent users from sharing news content in Australia because it prepares for a replacement law forcing it to pay publishers for his or her articles.

Regulators want tech giants like Facebook and Google to buy the content reposted from news outlets.

Last month Google warned its users that its search services might be “dramatically worse” as a result.

Facebook’s latest move to dam news sharing has escalated tensions between tech firms and regulators.

The social media network said that if the proposed legislation becomes law it’ll stop Australians from sharing news on Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has involved the principles to “level the playing field” between the tech giants and publishers that it says are struggling thanks to lost advertising revenue.

The ACCC skilled Facebook’s threat to dam news content saying it had been “ill-timed and misconceived”.

“The code simply aims to bring fairness and transparency to Facebook and Google’s relationships with Australian journalism businesses,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

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But during a blog post, Facebook’s director for Australia and New Zealand Will Easton, said the draft law “misunderstands the dynamics of the web and can do damage to the very news organisations the govt is trying to protect”.

He argued it might force Facebook to buy content that publishers voluntarily place on its platform to get traffic back to their news sites.

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Mr Easton claimed Facebook sent 2.3bn clicks from Facebook’s newsfeed back to Australian news websites, worth around A$200m ($148m; £110m) during the primary five months of the year.

The blocking of stories “is not our first choice – it’s our last,” he said, adding that Facebook’s other services that allow family and friends to attach won’t be affected.

A Facebook spokesman told the BBC that it’ll “provide specific details soon” on how it’ll enforce the ban.

Some business experts argue that tech firms should pay publishers for the standard news content that they repost.

“Google, Facebook et al. are getting away with giving it away for free of charge for too long,” Michael Wade, a professor at the IMD graduate school in Switzerland and Singapore told the BBC last month.

Google and Facebook do buy some news content in specific markets, and said they decide to roll these initiatives bent more countries.

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