CANBERRA (AP) – In an unexpected act of retaliation, Facebook on Thursday in Australia blocked the option for its users to share news, escalating a fight with the government over whether powerful technology companies should have to pay news organizations. for its content.
The Australian government condemned the decision, which also prevented some government communications, such as the dissemination of messages about emergency services and some commercial pages.
Digital platforms fear that the situation in Australia will become a costly precedent for other countries as governments renew laws to catch up with the changing digital world.
Facebook took the action after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would force Facebook and Google to pay for Australian journalism, said Treasury Secretary Josh Frydenberg. The official added that Facebook acted without prior notice. The bill must pass the Senate to become law.
As a result of Facebook’s move, Australian news organizations were unable to post stories on their platform and people attempting to share existing news received notifications saying they were unable to do so.
“This post cannot be shared,” read a message on Facebook. “In response to Australian government legislation, Facebook restricts the posting of news links and all posting of news pages in Australia. Globally, the publication and exchange of news links from Australian publications are restricted, ”he added.
The legislation mentioned in the notice, however, has yet to be enacted.
“Facebook’s actions were unnecessary, they were disproportionately strong and will damage their reputation here in Australia,” Frydenberg said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison lashed out at the move on his own Facebook page.