Meta, the owner of Facebook, enrages Australia by threatening to stop subsidizing journalistic content

With its announcement that it would no longer be paying Australian news publishers for content that appears on Facebook, Meta Platforms sparked a new legal dispute with Canberra, which had pioneered a law requiring Internet titans to negotiate license agreements. News organizations and governments, such as the Australian government, have contended that Facebook and Google unjustly profit from links to news stories that are shown on their platforms. News links are now only a small portion of users’ feeds, according to Meta, which has been reducing the amount of news and political content it promotes to increase traffic.

 

According to a statement, Meta will stop promoting news on Facebook in Australia and the US. It also announced that it will stop doing so in Britain, France, and Germany in 2023. According to the statement, “we will not offer new Facebook products specifically for news publishers and will not enter into new commercial deals for traditional news content in these countries.” Meta is up against the Australian government and its 2021 law in this decision.

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), an antitrust regulator, and the Treasury Department are advising the government on its next course of action. The previous chair of the ACCC, Mr. Rod Sims, who oversaw the creation of the law, referred to Meta’s reversal as self-serving and expressed concern about the decision’s potential effects for society due to its dilution of the standard of social media journalism. He stated, “This is Meta snubbing the Australian Parliament in the nose.” The government of the nation must choose whether to designate a mediator to determine Meta’s costs and may impose fines on Meta for noncompliance under the 2021 law. The majority of Meta’s agreements with Australian media had a three-year duration and were scheduled to end in 2024.

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