February 18th, 2021
Facebook Faces Australia in All-Out Fight over Paying for News Content
Australians woke to empty news feeds on their Facebook pages on Thursday after the social media giant decided to block all local media content, a move to escalate the dispute with the Australian government overpaying for content.It should be noted that this is following weeks of argument between the two parties and is seen as a nuclear option from Facebook, one that is reveberating throughout the country and shaking the government into talks and negotiations with the epic social media giant.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said his government will not be intimidated by Facebook and has described the blocking of news feeds to users as arrogant and disappointing.It should be noted that other groups who are not media companies were also banned, including charities and government welfare agencies. An executive of a charity foodbank tweeted: “Demand for food relief has never been higher than during this pandemic, and one of our primary comms tools to help connect people with #foodrelief info & advice is now unavailable. Hours matter when you have nothing to eat. SORT THIS OUT."It should be noted that while many groups right now are being banned, Facebook will certainly work that part out and make sure that only the news agencies are the ones that Australian users cannot see. It is truly unfortunately and unforgivable that other groups are currently being banned but I am sure that will be sorted in time.
Facebook and Google used to fight the Australian law together, unlike the former, the latter has recently signed payment deals with major Australian media outlets.It should be noted that Stephen Scheeler, ex-CEO of Facebook Australia, is recommending the country's citizens delete the app entirely to send a message to the tech giant that they are still dependent on users. Prime Minister Scott Morrison chimed in as well, lamenting that the social media platform was "as arrogant as they were disappointing."
This is irrelevant because people are not going to delete Facebook, some need it like oxygen. Secondly, this is a negotiation between the two sides and they will have to hash out a deal that is best for the Australian people. Sadly, the Australian officials will likely be the one making concessions since, in the end, Facebook really does have more power than most governments.