The law establishing a media bargaining code was proposed by the government-run Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which found after a monthslong investigation that US technology companies Alphabet Inc., which owns Google, and Facebook hold too much power in the Australian media market.
Facebook said the proposed legislation "fundamentally misunderstands" the relationship between itself and publishers, arguing that news outlets voluntarily post their article links on Facebook, which helped Australian publishers earn about AU$407 million in 2020 through referrals.
Facebook's announcement came the same day Google said it had reached a deal with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, to pay for its journalism.
"The actions we're taking are focused on restricting publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and global news content", a company spokesman said.
The social networking platform Facebook blocked news content sharing in Australia Thursday, in response to a proposed media law. It also disabled - accidentally, the company said - a raft of government Facebook pages carrying public health advice on the coronavirus, warnings from the weather bureau and even the site of a children's hospital.
Most of the affected Pages have since been restored after working with the company, and it sounds like any other non-media organization that's been impacted will get back access to their accounts.
'Facebook's decision to restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing not just hard news, but any content originating from a publisher, will have a significant and detrimental impact far beyond the media landscape, ' she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
But Facebook's move to block news in Australia would be hard to repeat in larger markets such as the United States and Europe as a whole - potentially hitting the company's bottom line.
And across the last few months that plan, now called the News Media Bargaining Code, has been taking shape with a mixed bag of local and worldwide criticism and support.
The move ups the ante in Facebook's war against the Federal Government's proposed media bargaining laws.
Reacting to the development, Morrison said Facebook had made a decision to "unfriend" Australia. But for Australians, Facebook's role in news delivery is growing. The disruption by Facebook's news blackout underscores its grip on information dissemination and might hand the social media giant a major bargaining chip in negotiations. Sometimes they'll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer.
The Australian Parliament is debating proposed laws that would make the two platforms strike deals to pay for Australian news.
The Facebook pages of Nine and News Corp, which together dominate the country's metro newspaper market, and the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corp, which acts as a central information source during natural disasters, were blank.
He vowed to press ahead with the new laws, and hit out at Facebook for "cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services", describing the company's actions as "arrogant as they were disappointing".
Facebook says through referrals, it helped Australian publishers earn around AU$407 million a year ago.
"The Morrison government's position is very clear - we will legislate this code", Frydenberg said, claiming the news shutdown confirmed the company's huge market power.
The union for Australian journalists is calling on media companies to make sure online revenue goes into news gathering.
Mr Lewis said that "Australians should respond by ending their use of Facebook and using alternative ways to connect online". "For now, we continue to be focused on bringing Facebook News and other new products to more countries and we have no intention of slowing down". If both parties couldn't agree, the price would be set by an arbiter.