FACEBOOK has restricted Australian media companies and users from sharing news content on the platform, provoking backlash from ministers, users and organisations.
The social media giant announced the decision in response to the Federal Government’s plans to require certain digital companies to pay Australian news organisations for content shared on their platforms.
They said the proposed laws fundamentally misunderstood the relationship between its platform and publishers who use it to share news content.
In a statement, Facebook said the decision was made with a “heavy heart”.
“In response to Australia’s proposed new Media Bargaining law, Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content,” they said.
“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.”
Facebook users in Australia were no longer able to post links to news articles on Facebook, and all posts were removed from the pages of Australian and international media organisations, including The Spectator.
It wasn’t just news organisations that were restricted on Thursday, as important pages like health departments, fire and rescue, local members of parliament - like Western Victoria MP, Bev McArthur and South West Coast MP, Roma Britnell - and the Bureau of Meteorology were blocked on Thursday morning.