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Facebook threatens to block news in Australia if regulations are enacted

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  • Facebook threatens to block news in Australia if regulations are enacted

    Aug. 31, 2020, 6:59 PM CDT
    By Dylan Byers

    Facebook users in Australia may soon be blocked from sharing news.

    The social media giant is threatening to make it impossible for users in Australia to share local and international news content on both Facebook and Instagram if the government passes new regulations altering the financial arrangement between publishers and online platforms.

    The new rules, strongly backed by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Australia, would force Facebook and Google into giving news outlets a bigger cut of digital advertising revenue. It is the most aggressive effort yet by any nation to curb Silicon Valley's power over the news business.

    As Facebook sees it, the new regulations are untenable. It would force the social network to enter into revenue-sharing agreements with publishers where the final terms would be decided by independent arbitrators — and Facebook would have no recourse to back out of the deal.

    ... While news accounts for a relatively small part of Facebook and Google's overall revenue, the ability to access and share news is seen as part of the appeal of the platforms. Facebook's decision to deprive users of the ability to share news could thus have larger effects on its reputation, especially if other countries were to follow suit.