Facebook threatens to halt news sharing in Australia
By Marwa Mahmoud
In an unprecedented incident, the social networking giant “Facebook” launched a stern threat to Australia, promising to deprive its media institutions and residents from publishing local and international news.
The British newspaper “The Guardian” reported, Tuesday, that “Facebook” threatened to prevent users from publishing news on it, and also on its “Instagram” platform, in case a new media law was passed that would force platforms like him to pay for the news content published on it.
Facebook said personal content among friends would not be affected in Australia.
Major media organizations in Australia support the bill, as a way to offset losses incurred by media outlets due to social networks such as Facebook that have taken over the ads.
Statistics compiled by the University of Canberra show that 39 percent of Australians rely on Facebook for general news, and 49 of them rely on it for corona virus news in particular.
“If this law is passed, we will prevent media organizations and individuals from publishing local and international news,” said Facebook’s regional director in Australia and New Zealand Will Easton.
“This is not our first option. It is the last, but it is the only way to protect against an outcome that defies logic and will in the long run harm the news and media industry in Australia,” Easton said.
On the other hand, Australian Treasury Minister Josh Freidenberg said that the government is proceeding with this legislation and “will not yield to harsh coercion or threats.”
On the other hand, the Australian Consumer and Competition Committee considered that the threat of “Facebook” came at an inappropriate time and “was misunderstood.”
The “Guardian” says that the goal behind the bill is to ensure that conditions for fair negotiations are provided between media institutions and Internet giants such as “Facebook”, who pay small sums for this content.
“Facebook is ready to remove reliable journalism from its pages, but it will allow information and conspiracy theories to be misled,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Australian Institute for Responsible Technology Center.