Facebook Blocks News in Australia Over Law Forcing It to Pay for News

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Facebook Blocks News in Australia Over Law Forcing It to Pay for News” – below is their description.

    Facebook Inc.’s decision to block news sharing on its Australian platform is an unprecedented show of force that escalates a legal standoff with the government and flashes a warning to regulators worldwide.

    The tech giant imposed the restrictions early Thursday, an unexpected riposte to a proposed law that will force the company and Google to pay Australian publishers for news content.

    Facebook’s algorithmic ambush switched off the main news source for almost one in five Australians. It also disabled — accidentally, the company said — a raft of government Facebook pages carrying public health advice on the coronavirus, warnings from the weather bureau and even the site of a children’s hospital.

    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who just days earlier had touted the “great progress” he’d made during talks with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, accused Facebook of a heavy-handed attack that undermined access to credible information.

    The legislation, still being debated in parliament, is aimed at compensating a local media industry that has hemorrhaged advertising revenue to digital platforms for decades. But rather than paying up, Facebook is drawing a line in the sand for fear Australia will set a precedent for global regulators.

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