This week the Australian Government had been doing victory dances after Google started making deals with Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment. Today, the MediaCode legislation story changed dramatically for the worse, with Facebook taking the nuclear option to ‘restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.’
While Google has pushed deals through their new Google News Showcase product, Facebook is having none of the Government’s new Media Bargaining Code, saying:
‘the proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content’
Facebook says it was left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.
This has dramatic consequences for millions of Australians who get their news through the social media platform. Furthermore it will have significant impacts on the Australian publishers which Facebook says received 5.1 Billion in free referrals from their platform.
For Facebook, the impact will be minimal, as News makes up less than 4% of the content people see in their News Feed.
So where to from here?
Facebook hasn’t announced a specific date for when this change will be implemented, so that’s hard to say, but I don’t anticipate we’re talking months here and it could be as rapid as a few days from now.
Well it seems Zuckerberg doesn’t mess around, I just attempted to share a link to techAU on Facebook to my friends and family and the block is already in place.
The ‘learn more‘ link takes you to the following page where more detail is explained to users, to help them understand why they can’t share.
So it looks like techAU has been caught up in this disaster of a policy and now you’re all restricted in sharing this content, on the largest social network on the planet.
Facebook has shared some detail on how this will impact different groups.
For Australian publishers this means:
- They are restricted from sharing or posting any content on Facebook Pages
- Admins will still be able to access other features from their Facebook Page, including Page insights and Creator Studio
- We will continue to provide access to all other standard Facebook services, including data tools and CrowdTangle
For international publishers this means:
- They can continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts can’t be viewed or shared by Australian audiences
For our Australian community this means:
- They cannot view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news Pages
For our international community this means:
- They cannot view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news Pages
Facebook’s other products and services in Australia will remain unaffected. That means Australians can continue using Facebook to connect with friends and family, grow their businesses and join Groups to help support their local communities.
In their statement, Facebook says they were prepared to launch Facebook News in Australia, and significantly increase our investments with local publishers, however, were only prepared to do this with the right rules in place.
Facebook went on to say that they hope the Australian Government will recognise the value provided by the platform and work them to strengthen, rather than limit, our partnerships with publishers.
This is a sad outcome, but not exactly unexpected. As we’ve seen with the Google announcements, it has set an international precedent, that now sees other countries attempting to follow suit, which will ultimately cost the company billions. Facebook has clearly decided this madness needs to stop before it gets traction anywhere.
We await the launch of BingBook.com.
You can read Facebook’s full statement here.