Meta says it may block Facebook news in Australia – TradingView News

Meta says it may block Facebook news in Australia – TradingView News

Facebook owner Meta TargetA company representative told a parliamentary hearing on Friday that it was considering blocking the platform’s news content in Australia if the government forced it to pay a licensing fee.

Asked if the company would prevent Australians from sharing news content to avoid paying the fee, Meta regional policy director Mia Garlick told MPs “all options are on the table”.

“There are a large number of channels from which people can receive news content,” Garlick told the inquiry.

He said Meta was awaiting a decision from Canberra on whether to enforce an untested 2021 law that gives the government the power to set fees paid by US tech giants to media for links.

The comments are the strongest indication yet that Meta will adopt a similar hardline stance in Australia as it has in Canada (link) in 2023, when that country introduces similar laws.

Meta has struck deals with Australian media companies including News Corp NWS and the Australian Broadcasting Corp when the legislation was introduced in Australia, but has since said it will not renew those agreements beyond 2024 (link).

It is now up to Australia’s Assistant Treasurer to decide whether to step in and force Facebook to pay for news content. The Assistant Treasurer said he is still gathering advice (link) but that it respects the Meta law only if it suits it.

Australia’s two largest free-to-air television broadcasters, Nine Entertainment NEC and Seven West Media SSWMHowever, this week they said they were cutting jobs, citing a drop in revenue when their deal with Meta ends.

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Asked on Friday whether blocking Facebook news in Australia would violate the law, Meta’s Garlick said such action would be compliant.

“All the other laws — tax laws, securities laws, privacy laws — we work to comply with,” he said. “It turns out that compliance with this law would be a little different if it were fully implemented.”

Garlick defended Meta’s processes for Australians to complain if they believed the company was spreading misinformation or harmful scams, though he said its content moderation centres were in other countries.

Asked about Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, who is suing Meta for running fraudulent cryptocurrency ads with his face, Garlick said the company has processes in place to detect and prevent fraud, but “there are a lot of challenges.”

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young asked how Meta could call itself an advertising company when “some ads sell lies”.

Garlick responded, “We have policies, systems and tools in place to do everything we can to stop these ads.”

About the author: Cory Weinberg

"Student. Subtly charming organizer. Certified music advocate. Writer. Lifelong troublemaker. Twitter lover."

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