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Australia won’t be intimidated by Fb ‘unfriending’ it, says Scott Morrison

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Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has lashed out at Fb for attempting to “unfriend” his nation with an sudden ban on information.

The US tech large blocked customers in Australia from sharing information on its platform in a shocking act of retaliation towards authorities strikes to make the agency pay for Australian journalism.

Mr Morrison mentioned his authorities wouldn’t be “intimidated” into altering its stance within the legislative dispute over content material.

“Fb’s actions to unfriend Australia at present, reducing off important data providers on well being and emergency providers, had been as boastful as they had been disappointing,” mentioned the prime minister.

The PM’s assertion, posted on his personal Fb web page, added: “We won’t be intimidated by massive tech in search of to stress our parliament.”


Early on Thursday morning Australian information organisations found they might not submit tales. Australian Fb customers who tried to share present information tales obtained notifications saying they had been blocked from doing so.

Australian ministers instantly condemned the choice, which additionally prevented the sharing of some authorities communications – together with messages about emergency providers – in addition to some business pages.

Mr Morrison mentioned the corporate’s actions “will solely verify the issues that an growing variety of international locations are expressing concerning the behaviour of huge tech corporations who assume they’re greater than governments”.

The prime minister added: “They might be altering the world, however that doesn’t imply they run it.”

Australian well being minster Greg Hunt instructed parliament it was “an assault on a sovereign nation”, including: “It’s an utter abuse of huge applied sciences’ market energy and management over expertise.”

Each Fb and Google have threatened retaliation if Australia created a brand new legislation geared toward guaranteeing media companies obtain honest fee for his or her journalism being linked on these platforms.

The digital giants wouldn’t be allowed to abuse their dominant negotiating positions by making take-it-or-leave-it fee provides to information companies, below the proposals. If a information enterprise refused to budge, an arbitration panel would make a binding choice on a successful provide.

Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg talking to the press forward of continued talks with Fb chief government Mark Zuckerberg

(Getty Photos)

Fb mentioned the proposed Australian legislation “essentially misunderstands the connection between our platform and publishers who use it”.

Nonetheless, the corporate’s transfer to dam content material in Australia obtained worldwide condemnation.

Julian Knight, chair of Britain’s digital, tradition, media and sport committee, mentioned it was a staggeringly irresponsible try and bully a democracy and that it could stiffen the resolve of legislators the world over to get powerful with the tech giants.

He instructed Reuters: “This motion – this bully boy motion – that they’ve undertaken in Australia will, I feel, ignite a want to go additional amongst legislators around the globe.

“We symbolize individuals and I am sorry however you’ll be able to’t run bulldozer over that – and if Fb thinks it will do that it’ll face the identical long-term ire because the likes of huge oil and tobacco.”

His feedback had been echoed by Henry Faure Walker, head of the UK’s information media commerce group, who mentioned Fb’s ban was “a basic instance of a monopoly energy being the varsity yard bully, attempting to guard its dominant place with scant regard for the residents and prospects it supposedly serves”.

Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg mentioned he knowledgeable Fb chief government Mark Zuckerberg the nation remained dedicated to implementing the proposed media fee legislation throughout continued talks on Friday morning.

He added in a tweet: “We talked by way of their remaining points and agreed our respective groups would work by way of them instantly. We’ll discuss once more over the weekend.”

Canada has vowed it is going to additionally make Fb pay for information content material, in search of allies within the media battle with tech giants and pledging to not again down if the social media platform shuts off the nation’s information because it did in Australia.

Canadian heritage minister Steven Guilbeault, in command of crafting related laws to be unveiled in coming months, instructed reporters: “Canada is on the forefront of this battle…we’re actually among the many first group of nations around the globe which can be doing this.”

Extra reporting by businesses

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