The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has 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.
Facebook said on a statement.
This discussion has focused on US technology companies and how they benefit from news content on their services. 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.
In fact, and as we have made clear to the Australian government for many months, the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favor of the publishers — which is the reverse of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to assume. Last year Facebook generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million.
For Facebook, the business gain from news is minimal. News makes up less than 4% of the content people see in their News Feed.
Over the last three years Facebook worked with the Australian Government to find a solution that recognizes the realities of how services work.
Facebook says it was prepared to launch Facebook News in Australia and significantly increase their investments with local publishers, however, they were only prepared to do this with the right rules in place. This legislation sets a precedent where the government decides who enters into these news content agreements, and ultimately, how much the party that already receives value from the free service gets paid. Facebook will now prioritise investments to other countries, as part of its plans to invest in new licensing news programs and experiences.
Others have also raised concern. Independent experts and analysts around the world have consistently outlined problems with the proposed legislation. While the government has made some changes, the proposed law fundamentally fails to understand how Facebook services work.
Unfortunately, this means people and news organisations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook. Globally, posting and sharing news links from Australian publishers is also restricted.
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
- Facebook 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 the international community this means:
- They cannot view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news Pages