The UK News Media Association’s chairman has accused Facebook of behaving like a “school yard bully,” after the company blocked all news content in Australia over a row about tech companies having to pay for journalistic content.
The social media giant prevented users in Australia from accessing or sharing news content on Thursday morning, in response to a draft law in the country that seeks to make tech companies pay media organizations for journalism on their platforms.
The move by Facebook has sparked international criticism, including from UK News Media Association chairman Henry Faure Walker, who accused the company of acting with “scant regard for the citizens and customers it supposedly serves.”
[It’s] a classic example of a monopoly power being the school yard bully, trying to protect its dominant position.
Speaking about how countries should respond to Facebook’s behavior, Walker stated that its actions “demonstrate precisely why we need jurisdictions across the globe, including the UK, to coordinate to deliver robust regulation.”
The law comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) created a set of rules intended to “level the playing field” between tech companies and media publishers. However, Google and Facebook have argued that the measures unfairly target and penalize their sites, suggesting it doesn’t reflect how the internet is used.
Despite Facebook’s block on news content, the Australian government has said it plans to proceed with the legislation, which is expected to be passed into law in the next few days.
While Facebook has sought to put pressure on the Australian government by blocking content, Google has attempted to reach a deal with news outlets to comply with the legislation, signing agreements with three of the main outlets in the country, including News Corp.
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