Facebook blocks Australians from accessing news on the platform



Facebook announced on Thursday that it has blocked Australians from viewing and sharing news on the platform because of proposed laws in the country to make digital giants pay for journalism.

"Australian publishers can continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts can't be viewed or shared by Australian audiences," the US-based company said in a statement.

Australian users cannot share Australian or international news.

International users outside Australia also cannot share Australian news.

The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content, Facebook regional managing director William Easton said.


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The announcement comes a day after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, described a very promising negotiation between Facebook and Google with Australian media companies.

Frydenberg said after talks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google, he was convinced that the platforms do want to enter these commercial arrangements.

Frydenberg said he had had a constructive discussion with Zuckerberg after Facebook blocked Australian news.

"He raised a few remaining issues with the Government's news media bargaining code and we agreed to continue our conversation to try to find a pathway forward," Frydenberg tweeted.

But communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government would not back down on its legislative agenda.


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The Australian Parliament is debating proposed laws that would make the two platforms strike deals to pay for Australian news.

Both platforms have condemned the proposed laws an unworkable. Google has also threatened to remove its search engine from the country.

But Google is striking pay deals with Australian news media companies under its own News Showcase model.

Seven West Media, became the largest Australian news media business to strike a deal with Google to pay for journalism.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has since announced a wide-ranging deal.

Rival Nine Entertainment is reportedly close to its pact and ABC is also in negotiations.

News plays a larger part in Google's business model than it does on Facebook. (PTI)

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