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In a shocking move, Facebook blocks news access in Australia

Canberra, Australia (AP) — In a shocking retaliation on Thursday, Facebook blocked Australians from sharing news. And abuse of power.

The Australian government has condemned this decision and has also blocked some government communications, such as messages about emergency services and some commercial pages. Digital platforms fear that what is happening in Australia will set an expensive precedent that larger countries will follow.

Finance Secretary Josh Frydenberg said Facebook had taken drastic action after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would force Facebook and Google to pay for Australian journalism, and was not warned before Facebook acted. Said. The bill must be passed by the Senate before it becomes law.

“Facebook’s actions were unnecessary. They are generous and will damage their reputation here in Australia,” Frydenberg said.

Facebook said the proposed Australian law “has a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between our platform and the publishers that use it.”

“This is an assault on a sovereign state,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told Congress. “It’s an attack on people’s freedom, and in particular it’s a complete abuse of big technology’s market power and control over technology.”

Both Google and Facebook threaten retaliation if Australia enacts the law. The government claims to ensure that media companies receive fair payments for journalism linked to these platforms.

The Australian proposal requires a negotiating safety net through an arbitration panel. Digital giants can’t abuse their dominant bargaining position by offering take-it-or-leave-it payments to news companies for journalism. If the news business refuses to upset, the panel makes a binding decision on the offer to win.

Facebook threatened to block access to Australian news rather than paying based on the proposed news media negotiation code. Google said the proposed law was infeasible and threatened to remove the search feature from Australia.

However, Google’s threat has diminished by quickly linking licensed content transactions with Australian media companies under its own news showcase model.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. announced a wide range of deals with Google on Wednesday. Seven West Media, Australia’s leading media organization, signed a deal earlier this week. Their rival, Nine Entertainment, is reportedly approaching its own agreement and is being negotiated by the state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Government accuses Facebook of endangering public safety by temporarily blocking state emergency service messages on days of severe fire and flood warnings in various parts of Australia Did.

Betoota Advocate, a satirical website named after the Meteorological Department’s weather alerts, Hobart’s women’s shelter, and Australian ghost towns, among those who were surprised that content was blocked at least temporarily. I was there.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher told Facebook that the government hopes to restore access to the page.

“The fact that some organizations, such as state health departments, fire departments, and paramedics, have blocked Facebook pages is a public security issue,” Fletcher said.

Facebook said in a statement: “Inadvertently affected pages will be cancelled.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital has not yet repaired its feed after more than eight hours.

Frydenberg said he had a “constructive” discussion with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after the content block began.

“He explained to me that they had concerns about aspects of the code, and that goes to some interpretation of that element, and he has a more thoughtful view on me. I’ll be back, “Frydenberg said.

Frydenberg said his government remains committed to a code that offers generous payment transactions with Google for the Australian media.

“Although other countries are paying attention, Google, Facebook and other digital giants are, as far as precedent, very focused on what that means for other countries,” Frydenberg said. Said.

News Corp. said it will receive a “heavy payment” from Google on a three-year contract. This includes major English-speaking news organizations such as The Wall Street Journal in the United States, the New York Post, and the Times. Sun in the UK, Australian in Australia and Sky News. The deal spans audio and video, News Corp. Also get a share of advertising revenue from Google.

Frydenberg is confident that the platform “wants to conclude these commercial arrangements” after meeting with Zuckerberg, Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google CEO Sundar Pichai over the weekend. Said.

“It’s a big step forward we’ve seen this week,” Frydenberg said of Google’s deal.

“But if this were easy, every other country in the world would have already done it, but it’s not,” he said.

In a shocking move, Facebook blocks news access in Australia

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