Facebook has invited whole lots of problems following its ill-advised decision to block Australians from sharing news on its platform.
The social media giant is opposed to a decision by government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison to force it to pay Australian publishers for news content.
The Australian government says the local media industry has been bled of advertising revenue by the tech giants Google and Facebook and should be paid fairly for content.
Both Facebook and Google strongly opposes the move to compel them to pay Australian publishers.
While Google threatened to exit Australian market, Facebook decided to stop Australians from sharing news on its platform.
Facebook’s decision to block people from sharing news in Australia has since been rebuked by politicians around the world.
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The move has put Facebook on collision course with governments and news organizations fighting to check its power.
Lawmakers and and media publishers in the UK, Canada, Germany and UK slammed Facebook’s actions, suggesting they were anti-competitive and underscored the need for a regulatory crackdown.
“It is one of the most idiotic but also deeply disturbing corporate moves of our lifetimes,” UK lawmaker Julian Knight, who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in Britain’s parliament, told broadcaster Sky News.
Knight further said that UK lawmakers will use pending legislation aimed at regulating social media companies to ensure platforms such as Facebook promote trusted news sources.
“This action — this bully boy action — that [Facebook has] undertaken in Australia will I think ignite a desire to go further amongst legislators around the world,” Knight said.
US Democratic House Rep David Cicilline, who chairs the House Antitrust Subcommittee, echoed Knight’s sentiment.
“If it is not already clear, Facebook’s actions in Australia demonstrate that the company is not compatible with democracy. Threatening to bring an entire country to its knees to agree to Facebook’s terms is the ultimate admission of monopoly power,” David Cicilline said.
“Facebook’s actions are highly irresponsible and have jeopardized the safety of the Australian people. We will continue to move forward to put in place fair legislation between news media and web giants,” Canadian heritage minister Steven Guilbeault said.