Australian Facebook users will be forced to go elsewhere to read the news following the company’s announcement on Wednesday that they would ban users in the country from sharing or viewing news links on the platform. The drastic move follows a debate on proposed legislation from the Australian government that seeks to advance Internet platforms – with particular focus on advertising giants Facebook and Google – to direct news publishers to share their content to pay.
Pulling back completely was a nuclear option for Facebook, floating the prospect first. In a blog post, the company sought to reduce the physical impact of the decision to Facebook’s Bottom Line, while emphasizing what the move would cost users in Australia and around the world. The company revealed that only 4% of the content in Australian users’ feeds was news, although the platform did not break other consumption metrics that linked news consumption.
In its post, Facebook sought to differentiate between the way users share news content on Facebook, while the content is curated by Google from algorithms within their search product. Facebook’s managing director for the region, William Easton, wrote, “Google search is inextricably linked between news and publishers and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content.” “On the other hand, publishers voluntarily choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, increase their audience and increase advertising revenue.”
Google has already started working with publishers to give outright payments to publishers so that they can continue to publish news content in the country, in a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp on Wednesday, of its closure in Australia Despite the danger of self. Facebook’s action has implications for global users outside Australia who will be unable to share links on the platform for news publications located in the country.
The legislation is an aggressive example of regional law, which has the potential to drive global change to operate Internet platforms. It is clear that many other countries are watching this saga play out. Facebook is taking a hard line approach, while Google wants to hit on private deals so that active showcases can appear in different ways from different platforms and how they work in the future.