Facebook, on Tuesday, announced to remove a critical part of Australian users’ experience: sharing news content on the social media platform. As a reaction to the proposed controversial laws, Facebook announced restrictions to combat Australia’s new Media Bargaining law.
“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia,” stated the Facebook blog post. “With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”
The proposed law, which has lately become a bone of contention between the big tech companies and the Australian government, requires Google and Facebook to compensate the media companies for their content being shared on the platforms.
The measure doesn’t just affect users in Australia, since its scope extends to all Facebook users in general. Facebook’s post stated that anyone using Facebook “cannot view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news Pages.”
It is unclear which specific incident triggered the extreme step of banning 25 million people from the content from sharing news, but Facebook elaborated its reasons in detail. According to the Facebook blog, news publishers’ sharing of content only benefits them and has no significant bearing on Facebook’s profit. Facebook also claims that the news content represents less than 4% of all content appearing on people’s News Feed.
The post further stated that the proposed law doesn’t consider how Facebook works and that the Australian government “seeks to penalize Facebook for content it didn’t take or ask for” since news publishers share their content voluntarily on Facebook.