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· Posted on
April 23, 2021

Facebook goes nuclear on Australia

Facebook has restricted news publishers, and everyday Aussies, from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.

What's the key learning?

  • Australia’s media bargaining code is a pretty intense example of how governments have the capability to influence the relationship between big tech, the media industry and consumers.
  • While Big Tech were standing united, they have now parted ways.
  • Facebook is taking a hard line approach, while Google is keen to play nice and lock in deals with news outlets independently.

WTF is the media bargaining code?

The Australian government’s proposed new media bargaining code requires Facebook and Google to pay media companies for their content. And it could become law as soon as next week

But Facebook Australia reckons the code “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between Facebook and publishers who use it to share news content.”

So basically, Facebook has said to itself, ‘we have two options here…’

  1. We comply with the new code, which really really doesn’t suit us at all..'
  2. We could just stop allowing news content on Facebook in Australia.

Before yesterday, the discussions have been tense… but productive.

And then yesterday morning, Facebook went NUCLEAR. They decided to remove news content from ALL news outlets and other organisations on Facebook who were collateral damage.

We're talking Bureau of Meteorology, health departments and small, independent businesses.

So what's the key learning?

The Australian government’s hardcore stance on Facebook is likely to inspire other countries around the world to take similar action. Australia’s media bargaining code is a pretty intense example of how governments have the capability to influence the relationship between big tech, the media industry and consumers.

What’s interesting is that Facebook is taking a hard line approach, while Google is keen to play nice and lock in deals with news outlets independently

The key difference between Facebook and Google though is that publishers actually add their content to Facebook, whereas Google just scoops it up and gives it to us in a little, clean, blue-text format

It's fair to say countries around the world are watching on with popcorn and bated breath.

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