Facebook to restrict information sharing in Australia

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SAN FRANCISCO | Facebook on Wednesday announced plans to restrict the sharing of news articles and videos by publishers and users in Australia, due to a bill that will force large digital platforms to pay media based on the traffic that headlines generate.

• Read also: A bill to defend the media against web giants

“We are faced with an unpleasant choice: to try to comply with a law that ignores the realities of the relationship (between the network and the publishers), or to stop allowing news content on our services in Australia,” explained , in a statement, William Easton, Facebook director for Australia and New Zealand.

“With a heavy heart, we choose the second option,” added the representative of the number of global digital advertising.

According to the announcement, Australian users will no longer be able to view or share news links from local or international media. Australian media will be prevented from posting their content on Facebook pages.

Google, the industry leader, had also threatened to suspend its services in Australia but it has just announced a deal reached with Rupert Murdoch’s media group, News Corp – Wall Street Journal, New York Post, The Times, The Sun, The Australian

The search engine firm has agreed to pay “significant sums” in return for the content of these press titles on its platform. This “historic partnership”, according to the terms of the attached press release, will allow it to escape the forced arbitration provided for by the future law in the event of failure of negotiations with the media.

“A lot of people will ask why we react differently (from Google, editor’s note),” admitted William Easton of Facebook.

Google’s search engine is “inextricably linked with news, and news publishers don’t volunteer their content.” In contrast, on Facebook, they choose to post the news because it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audience and increase their ad revenue, ”said Easton.

The social media giant says it has generated more than 5 billion referrals to Australian publications, which it estimates to be worth 407 million (261 million euros) for the media.

“For Facebook, the gains are minimal,” insists the director. “News accounts for less than 4% of the content people see on their feed.”

“We have been explaining to the Australian government for months that the exchange of value between Facebook and publishers is largely in their favor,” he concluded.