Fb ‘bully’ transfer in Australia reveals want for regulation: UK media commerce physique


London, February 18

Facebook’s move to block all media content in Australia shows why countries around the world need robust regulation to stop tech giants behaving like a “school yard bully”, the head of the UK’s news media trade group said.

News Media Association chairman Henry Faure Walker said Facebook’s ban during a global pandemic was “a classic example of a monopoly power being the school yard bully, trying to protect its dominant position with scant regard for the citizens and customers it supposedly serves”.

“Facebook’s actions in Australia demonstrate precisely why we need jurisdictions across the globe, including the UK, to coordinate to deliver robust regulation to create a truly level playing between the tech giants and news publishers,” Walker added.


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The social media giant shocked Australia on Thursday when it blocked all media content from its platform in a stunning escalation of a dispute with the government over paying for content.

The move came after the government of Scott Morrison drafted a law to require Facebook and Google to reach commercial deals with news outlets whose links drive traffic to their platforms, or be subjected to forced arbitration to agree a price.

The legislation, which is expected to be passed by the Australian parliament within days, prompted Google to seal pre-emptive deals with several outlets in recent days.

Facebook said the law “fundamentally misunderstands” the relationship between itself and publishers and it faced a stark choice of complying or banning news content.

Facebook argues that the British media market is different, after it launched Facebook News through partnerships with publishers such as the Daily Mail group, Financial Times, Guardian and Telegraph. Reuters



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