Facebook threatens to block Australia publishers if content sharing curbs becomes law

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Facebook Inc on Monday said it would stop allowing news publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram if a proposed regulation on news content sharing being drafted by the Australian government becomes law.

“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,” Facebook said in a statement.

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Australian government said in July it would require tech giants like Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year.

Following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the US platforms, the Australian government late last year told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content.

After those negotiations failed, Australia’s competition regulator drafted laws that it said would allow news businesses to negotiate for fair payment for their journalists’ work.

Easton said the proposed legislation misunderstands the dynamic of the internet and will damage news organizations.

Australia’s Ministry for Communications did not immediately respond to questions on Tuesday.

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