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It’s actually happening, Facebook is banning news posts in Australia

The mad lads are actually doing it.

facebook logo with blurred facebook website in background
Image: KnowTechie

UPDATE 2/23/2021 7:11 AM ET: After Facebook made the drastic decision to basically ban all news on its platform in Australia, the social giant and Australian government have come to new terms. News is back in Australia. The original story follows below.

For months now, Facebook and Australia have been embroiled in a battle over the social network. Essentially, new Australian regulations make Facebook responsible for paying media organizations for content published to the site.

According to The Verge, the regulations have passed the Australian House of Representatives and it should have enough votes to pass in the Senate. Facebook has voiced its issues with this, as has Google, but it looks like the regulations will continue to move forward.

Now, Facebook has released a new blog post stating very plainly that “Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.”

This is obviously huge, and the company spends more time in the blog post detailing exactly what this will mean. Because there is a fair amount of info here, we’ll copy and paste that below:

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

As mentioned above, Google has had issues with the proposed regulations, as well, but the company has managed to work out deals with many media organizations, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

William Easton, Managing Director, Facebook Australia & New Zealand, explains how it is incorrect to bundle Google and Facebook into the same category, explaining:

We understand many will ask why the platforms may respond differently. The answer is because our platforms have fundamentally different relationships with news. Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content. On the other hand, publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audiences and increase advertising revenue.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming days. It is still possible that Facebook will be able to make something work with Australia. But if not, users in Australia should expect their feeds to become a lot less cluttered with news articles.

UPDATE 2/25/2021 10:14 AM ET: Facebook and Google will now be required to pay publishers in Australia for news content. Full story here.

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