Monday, July 15, 2024

Meta’s Decision to Block News on Facebook in Australia

Meta Considers Blocking News Content in Australia Due to Licensing Fees

Meta is considering blocking news content from appearing on its platform in Australia if the Australian government mandates licensing fees. During a Parliamentary hearing, Meta’s regional policy director, Mia Garlick, stated that all options are currently on the table.

Garlick emphasized that there are numerous channels for people to access news content and mentioned that Meta is eagerly awaiting Canberra’s decision on the newly introduced 2021 law that would require US tech giants to pay fees to media organizations for sharing links.

Meta’s approach in Australia seems to mirror its stance in Canada in 2023 following similar laws. Initially, Meta had agreements with Australian media entities like News Corp and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation when the law was first implemented, but the company has announced that these agreements will not be extended beyond 2024.

The decision now lies with Australia’s assistant treasurer, who will determine whether to intervene and require Facebook to compensate news providers. While the assistant treasurer has indicated ongoing deliberation, he has criticized Meta for selectively adhering to legal requirements.

In response to inquiries about potentially blocking news content on Facebook in Australia to bypass the law, Garlick argued that such action would actually constitute compliance. She explained, “Every other law – tax laws, safety laws, privacy laws – we work to comply with. It’s just that compliance would look slightly different in relation to this law if it’s fully enacted.”

With Meta contemplating the possibility of blocking news content in Australia, the tech giant’s future actions in response to the government’s licensing fee regulations remain uncertain.

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