Facebook has decided to block news sharing in Australia. Google has signed a deal with News Corp. and will start paying the company for its journalism.

Facebook blocks news sharing in Australia as Google strikes deal with News Corp. in response to media payment law

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Updated: Feb 18, 2021 12:40 PM

Facebook and Google have seemingly taken two different routes to tackle the predicament that they are currently facing in Australia.

FacebookFacebook has decided to block news sharing in Australia. (Image credit: Reuters)

Facebook and Google have seemingly taken two different routes to tackle the predicament that they are currently facing in Australia. For those unaware, Australia is on course to pass laws that would make these tech giants pay local publishers and broadcasters for content included in search results or news feeds.

In response, Facebook has decided to block news sharing in Australia. Google had previously threatened to block Australia from using its search engine if forced to pay for news, but those plans seem to be on hold for now as the global search engine giant has signed a deal with News Corp. and will start paying Rupert Murdoch’s company for its journalism in Australia, as well as in the UK and US.

In a blog post, Facebook has announced that it has blocked Australians from viewing or sharing any domestic or international news on its platform in response to the country’s “Media Bargaining law”.

Facebook users in Australia can still publish news on Facebook but other users, including those outsides of its borders, will not be able to view or share it, the social media giant said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Google will start paying News Corp. for featuring its news on its platform in not just Australia but in the United States and the United Kingdom as well. Although many details of the three-year deal that is seen as a changing dynamic between tech giants and publishers have not been revealed, media reports suggest it could be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Google will be able to feature premium content from more than 30 News Corporations including The Times in the U.K, The Wall Street Journal in the U.S and Sky News in Australia post the deal. Google has also signed multimillion-dollar deals with other Australian publishers, including Nine Entertainment, Seven West and Junkee Media.

Also Read: Google threatens to block Australia from using search engine if forced to pay for news

Facebook continuing with its dissent for the new Australian law said that it “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content”. The new law “seeks to penalise Facebook for content it didn’t take or ask for,” it said.

Facebook further said that publishers gain more than the platform for promoting news on its platform and that the business gains from the news are less than 4 per cent of the content people see on their news feeds, as its reasons for not accepting the law.

Surprisingly, the announcement comes a day after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg called negotiation between Facebook and Google with media companies, “very promising”. He even tweeted that both Google and Facebook “do want to enter into these commercial arrangements.

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