Facebook bans news for Australian users

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 18 February 2021

Facebook has banned news content from being shared on its platform for Australian users in response to the news media bargaining code.

The changes mean that Australian publishers are not able to share or post any content on their Facebook pages. For people in Australia, they are not able to view or share Australian or international news content. Facebook users around the world also won’t be able to post and share news links from Australian publishers.

Facebook’s Australia and New Zealand managing director Will Easton says that it’s made the decision with “a heavy heart” because the code, which is expected to be passed in parliament in the next fortnight, misunderstands its relationship with news publishers who choose to share their content on Facebook.

“Publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audiences and increase advertising revenue," Easton says.

“In fact, and as we have made clear to the Australian government for many months, the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favor of the publishers — which is the reverse of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to assume.”

Facebook had been preparing to launch the Facebook News tab in Australia which pays certain publishers to feature their content on the platform. However, it says it will now prioritise investment in other countries.

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