Frontlist | Facebook to restore Aus news websites to its platform: What impact could Facebook-Aus govt row have for India?

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Facebook and Google have been the target of landmark legislation in the Land Down Under, which, last week, was tabled in Australian Parliament.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • On Thursday last week, millions of Australians woke to realise that Facebook had temporarily suspended displaying content of Australian news publishers on their home feeds
  • The stand-off between Facebook, Google and the Australian government is being closely monitored by nations across the world including India
  • India’s 282 million unique visitors make the country the second-largest news consuming nation in the world behind only China

Facebook is expected to restore the content of Australian news publishers on its platform on Tuesday following the Australian government’s decision to make amendments to a proposed law that mandates tech behemoths to dole out payments to publishers of content displayed on their platforms.

Facebook and Google have been the target of landmark legislation in the Land Down Under, which, last week, was tabled in Australian Parliament. The law will require Google and Facebook to effectively negotiate price deals with Australian news publishers that will see the former pay for hosting the latter’s content.

But on Thursday last week, millions of Australians woke to realise that Facebook had temporarily suspended displaying content of Australian news publishers on their home feeds. In fact, the Zuckerberg-owned platform went one step further, removing any posts from the country’s Bureau of Meteorology, state health departments, fire and rescue services, crisis services like Suicide Prevention Australia, and charities.

The move prompted scathing criticism from Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison who labelled the action “as arrogant as they were disappointing.” The Australian prime minister took to the social media platform itself to express his views, adding “We will not be intimidated by this act of bullying by BigTech, seeking to pressure parliament as it votes on our important News Media Bargaining Code.”

The stand-off between Facebook, Google and the Australian government is being closely monitored by nations across the world including India. Australia Prime Minister Morrison also, reportedly, had a telephonic exchange with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Thursday as part of a drive to garner global support for the proposed law.

In January, both Google and Facebook appeared to issue threats to the Australian government with the former suggesting that it could suspend its search engine for Australians if the law saw passage through Parliament. However, while Google has seemingly backed down on its ultimatum inking deals with some news publishers, Facebook has maintained its hardline stance.

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Source: Times Now

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