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Facebook Hits the News by Banning News

Facebook has blocked Australian news from sharing their journalism. In a bid to equal the finances of online media, regulators have found an unintended consequence.

Facebook has blocked Australian news from sharing their journalism. In a bid to equal the finances of online media, regulators have found an unintended consequence.

Reported succinctly by Foreign Affairs, “early on Thursday morning, Australia’s Facebook users—all 17.2 million of them—found themselves caught in a battle of wills between the social media giant and the Australian government. In a warning shot ahead of the country’s proposed law that would force tech platforms to pay news organizations for sharing their articles, Facebook has indefinitely blocked users from reading or sharing news on the platform.”

The story that Facebook may ban news outlets comes off the back of Google firing warning shots to regulators that the impending proposed law would see them withdraw from Australia. This week news released that Google had reached a deal with News Corp

Robert Thomson, the chief executive of News Corp, said the deal would have “a positive impact on journalism around the globe as we have firmly established that there should be a premium for premium journalism”. “I would like to thank [Google CEO] Sundar Pichai and his team at Google, who have shown a thoughtful commitment to journalism that will resonate in every country. This has been a passionate cause for our company for well over a decade and I am gratified that the terms of trade are changing, not just for News Corp, but for every publisher.”

In a statement, Google’s President of Global Partnerships Don Harrison said: “Today’s agreement with News Corp covers a wide range of our products such as News Showcase, YouTube, Web Stories, Audio and our ad technology. News Showcase has partnerships with over 500 publications around the world, demonstrating the value this product can bring to our news partners and readers everywhere. We hope to announce even more partnerships soon.” Repeated by News Corp CEO Robert Thomson, “a positive impact on journalism around the globe as we have firmly established that there should be a premium for premium journalism”. “I would like to thank Sundar Pichai (Google’s CEO) and his team at Google, who have shown a thoughtful commitment to journalism that will resonate in every country. This has been a passionate cause for our company for well over a decade and I am gratified that the terms of trade are changing, not just for News Corp, but for every publisher.”

Facebook has taken a different direction to Google, equating their service to a free customer acquisition channel. Facebook has stated that a news channels ability to promote and share their news on Facebook equates to a free customer acquisition value of over £250 million.

Sources:

Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/02/18/facebook-fires-warning-shot-in-fight-against-australian-regulation/

The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/feb/17/news-corp-agrees-deal-with-google-over-payments-for-journalism

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