In response to the new bill passed by the Australian government, Facebook will block Australian users and publishers from the website. Facebook in Australia will not allow Australian users and media companies to share links to news articles on the social network. The newly proposed landmark regulatory measure will force the tech giants like Facebook to pay Australian news companies for using their content.

This bill has been passed today at the Australian House of Representatives and has enough votes to be successful in the Senate. According to the bill, Google is also targetted because Google threatened to leave the country last month. Unlike Google who has started making deals with Australian news companies, Facebook will not do this.

According to William Easton, MD of Facebook Australia and New Zealand:

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,”

Moreover, he elaborates that they have already clarified the Australian government that this deal would favor the publishers as a result of value exchange between Facebook and publishers. In their defence, Easton said that Facebook does not benefit enough from the news, and business gained from news content is minimal. Moreover, he said that the company was ready to launch Facebook news years ago in Australia, however, they were only waiting for right laws to be in place.

The four different categories listed who would be affected as result of this policy change are:

  1. Australian Publishers: “They are restricted from sharing or posting any content on Facebook Pages. Admins will still be able to access other features from their Facebook Page”
  2. International Publishers: “They can continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts can’t be viewed or shared by Australian audiences.”
  3. Australian News: “They cannot view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news Pages.”
  4. International Users: “They can not view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news Pages.”

However, changes impacting the news content in Australia will not have any effect on Facebook’s products and services in Australia. People who connect with their friends and family over Facebook, make use of this platform to grow their business, and make groups to help support local communities will not be affected. Conclusively, William Easton writes that they hope that in the coming future Australian Government will realise the value Facebook provides and will work towards strengthening the relationship rather than limiting the company’s partnerships with the publishers.

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