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Facebook blocks Australia from viewing and posting news content

Backlash comes in response to the proposed law which would make tech giants pay for news content on social media platforms.

The Australian users have been blocked by Facebook from sharing and viewing the news content on the website. It is a huge setback for the public access to key information.

Australians, on Thursday, found that Facebook pages of all local and global news sites were unavailable.

The backlash comes in response to the proposed law which would make tech giants pay for news content on social media platforms.

Various government pages were also blocked which Facebook later clarified was done by mistake.

People from other parts of the world were also unable to access Australian news on the platform.

The Australian government has condemns the initiative, saying it exhibited the “immense market power of these digital social giants”.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the prohibition on news information had a “huge community impact” since approximately 17 million Australians visit Facebook every month.

Mr Frydenberg said the government was dedicated to passing the law, and “we would like to see them [Facebook] in Australia”.

He added,

“But I think their actions today were unnecessary and wrong.”

The internet giants, Google and Facebook, have previously fought the law because they find it incongruent to how the internet works, and unduly “penalizes” the platforms.

On the other hand, Google has recently signed payment deals with three major Australian media outlets.

Facebook ban came hours later when Google agreed to pay Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for content from news sites across its media empire.

The Facebook made the decision of banning the news content after Australian authorities had drawn up the laws to “level the playing field” between the tech giants and struggling publishers over profits.

It has been found that on every A$100 spent on digital advertising in Australian media these days, A$81 go to Google and Facebook.

Disagreeing with the law, Facebook said the law left it, “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”.

“With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter,” said Facebook in a blog post.

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