Facebook threatens to block sharing of news over advertising row in Australia

  • Facebook has hit back against a proposed law to make it share news advertising revenue with the news outlets that create the content.

    Facebook and Google have objected to a new first-of-its-kind law that would force online advertising companies to share advertising revenue with content creators. The new law is being proposed in Australia after an inquiry ruled that tech firms such as Facebook and Google take too much online advertising revenue from news and media organisations.

    The News Media Bargaining Code is one of the first attempts by any country to tackle the generation of profit by the world's largest tech firms at the expense of content creators. The law could require online advertising-based firms to pay content creators for the news stories shared on their platforms and inform them in advance of any changes to their algorithms.

    Posts that are shared on social media generate significant interaction data and advertising revenue for the platforms, but comparatively low revenues for the content creators themselves. News on Australia's wildfires made global headlines last year and was shared widely, but the news organisations on the ground didn't reap as much benefit from it as Facebook itself.

    Facebook has come under fire in recent years for not doing enough to block the sharing of fake news, but the platform is now threatening to block the sharing of real news from legitimate sources in Australia if this law goes through. Google has likewise stated that its search results could be dramatically impacted by the new law, saying that it gives big media organisations special treatment.

    There has been significant pressure in recent years for countries to reign in the activity of major tech firms such as Google and Facebook, which generate massive revenues globally and pay very little tax. The new AU law could become a model for other countries such as the UK if it's successful, but Facebook's threat to ban sharing of all news content on its platforms could put a damper on this plan.

    Source: The Verge, BBC News

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