Facebook Blocks News in Australia, Diverging With Google on Proposed Law
SAN FRANCISCO — For months, Facebook and Google have been locked in a stare-down with news publishers and lawmakers in Australia.
At the heart of the fight is whether the tech giants should pay news organizations for the news articles that are shared on their networks. Under a proposed law from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, both Google and Facebook would be required to negotiate with media publishers and compensate them for the content that appears on their sites.
Facebook and Google have fought hard to prevent the Australian law — which is expected to pass this week or next — from forcing their hands. But on Wednesday, the two companies sharply diverged on how to head off that regulatory future.
Google began the day by unveiling a three-year global agreement with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to pay for the publisher’s news content, one of several such deals it has announced recently where it appears to be effectively capitulating to publishers’ demands. Hours later, Facebook took the opposite tack and said it would restrict people and publishers from sharing or viewing news links in Australia, in a move that was effective immediately.
In conciliatory language toward publishers, Don Harrison, president for global partnerships at Google, said that the company had invested to help news organizations over the years and that it hoped “to announce even more partnerships soon.”