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Facebook warns to stop News Distribution in Australia over media law

By Suvan Bose

On Tuesday, Facebook warned to block users and media organizations in Australia from the distribution of local and international news stories in an increasing challenge to government plans to force digital giants to compensate for content.

Australians may possibly be stopped from posting international and local articles on Facebook and Instagram, said by the company, stating the move was not our initial choice but the sole way to secure against a consequence that defies logic. From the social media giant government officials swiftly shot back, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg denying what he called "coercion or heavy-handed threats.”

Rod Sims, head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which came up with the draft law, entitled the threat "ill-timed and misconceived". In one of the fiercest moves by any government to restrict the power of US digital giants, Canberra has drawn up legislation to force Facebook and Google to compensate struggling local news organizations for content or deal with millions of dollars in fines. The methods might also force transparency throughout the nearby guarded algorithms that tech firms apply to rank content.

The managing director Facebook Australia and New Zealand, Will Easton said that the proposed revamp, misinterprets the components of the internet and will do harm to the very news organizations the government is trying to safeguard. Easton also blamed the ACCC of having "ignored important facts" throughout an extended consultation procedure that finished on Monday. The ACCC assumes that Facebook has most profit in its relationship with publishers when in reality the opposite is true, he said.

Easton said that in the first five months of 2020 Facebook delivered 2.3 billion clicks to Australian websites at an approximated value of Aus$200 million (US$148 million) and had been arranging to bring Facebook News to Australia, a feature started in the US last year where the tech giant compensated publishers for news. Google has also campaigned forcibly opposing the suggested changes, making pop-ups on the search engine alerting "the way Aussies use Google is at risk" and Persuading YouTubers all over the world to complain to Australian authorities.

The legislation, needed to be passed into law this year, will originally focus on Google and Facebook- two of the world’s most powerful and richest companies- but could ultimately apply to any digital platform. The initiative has been seriously watched throughout the globe as news media worldwide have endured in the progressively digital economy, where advertising revenue is strongly acquired by Google, Facebook and other big tech firms.

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