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Facebook threatens to stop Australians sharing local and international news

Facebook is threatening to stop Australian users from sharing news if the social media giant is forced to compensate media companies for publishing their stories.

Australia and New Zealand managing director for Facebook Will Easton said a draft code of conduct ignored the relationship between social media and news organisations, which he claimed would suffer the most.

‘Assuming this draft code becomes law, we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram,’ Mr Easton said in a statement on Tuesday.

‘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.’

Mr Easton said the new regulation misunderstands the dynamics of the internet and will do damage to news organisations.

‘When crafting this new legislation, the commission overseeing the process ignored important facts, most critically the relationship between the news media and social media and which one benefits most from the other,’ he said. 

The managing director said he supports the Australian Government’s goal of supporting news organisations – in particular local newspapers. 

‘The proposed law is unprecedented in its reach and seeks to regulate every aspect of how tech companies do business with news publishers,’ Mr Easton said. 

‘Most perplexing, it would force Facebook to pay news organisations for content that the publishers voluntarily place on our platforms and at a price that ignores the financial value we bring publishers.’ 

More to come 

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