Facebook to restrict sharing or viewing Australian and international news content

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Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.

The announcement comes in response to proposed new laws in Australia that would force tech companies to negotiate with media companies over how much to pay them for news content.

The move would also prevent people overseas from sharing Australian content on the social media site.

In a statement, Facebook said it had made the decision after being unable to find a “solution” in discussions with the Australian government.

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” William Easton, Facebook’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, said.

“It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.

“Unfortunately, this means people and news organisations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook.”

The ban appears to have come into effect for at least some users, who are now unable to post links to Australian news articles on their Facebook pages.

The move comes a day after Nine and Seven West Media reportedly made multi-million-dollar deals with Google for use of content.

“We understand many will ask why the platforms may respond differently,” the Facebook statement says.

“The answer is because our platforms have fundamentally different relationships with news. Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content.”

More to come.

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