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Australians Blocked From Sharing News on Facebook

While Google strikes a deal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2021 3:15 PM CST

(Newser) – Google is striking deals in Australia to pay for journalism but Facebook is vowing to restrict news sharing as Australian lawmakers consider forcing digital giants into payment agreements, reports the AP. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. announced a wide-ranging deal with Google Wednesday; major Australian media organization Seven West Media reached a deal earlier; its rival Nine Entertainment is reportedly close to its own pact; and Australian Broadcasting Corp. is in negotiations. But Facebook said it "will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content." The dominant social network blamed Australia's proposed law for its decision, and said the law "fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it."

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News Corp. said it would receive "significant payments" from Google in the three-year agreement. Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said "none of these deals would be happening" if not for proposed legislation to create a so-called News Media Bargaining Code. The code would create an arbitration panel to set a binding price for news in cases where Google and Facebook fail to reach deals with media companies whose original journalism they link to. As for Facebook, the AP reports that the company says Australian publishers can continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts can’t be viewed or shared by Australian audiences. Australian users cannot share Australian or international news, and international users outside Australia also cannot share Australian news.

(Read more Australia stories.)

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