In a statement, U.S. social media giant Facebook Inc said, it would block news publishers and people in Australia from sharing news on its app, including Instagram and Facebook if a proposed bill which forces it pay local media outlets for content, becomes law.
In July, the Australian government said it would require tech giants including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook to pay for news provided by media companies under a royalty-styled framework which is scheduled to become law in later this year.
“This is not our first choice – it is our last. But it is the only way to protect against an outcome that defies logic and will hurt, not help, the long-term vibrancy of Australia’s news and media sector,” said Facebook Australia managing director Will Easton in a statement which was published on Tuesday.
The development comes in the wake of an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of social media platforms, with the Australian government taking the view late in 2019 that Facebook and Google will have to negotiate a voluntary deal with its domestic media companies to use their content.
After the failure of such negotiations, Australia’s competition regulator drafted laws which allows news businesses to negotiate for fair payment for their journalists’ work.
In a statement, Easton said Australia’s proposed legislation misunderstands the dynamic of the internet and will damage news organizations.
Australia’s Ministry for Communications did not immediately respond to requests for comments.