Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would not be intimidated by Facebook stopping sending news to users in his country.
He described the company’s move to “cancel the friendship of Australia” as arrogant and disappointing.
Facebook’s decision comes in response to a proposed Australian law that would make tech giants pay fees for news content they provide on their platforms.
Australians woke up Thursday to find that the Facebook pages of all news sites, both local and international, were lacking.
People outside of the country also cannot read or access any Australian news publications on the platform.
He also banned many government health and emergency pages. Facebook later confirmed that this was a mistake and that many of these pages are now back online.
Both Google and Facebook still reject the law because – as they say – it does not reflect how the Internet works, and their platforms are “unfairly punishing”.
But Google, unlike Facebook, has signed payment deals with three major Australian media platforms in recent days.
Facebook’s action came just hours after Google agreed to pay Rupert Murdoch’s private newscorp company for content from news sites across its media empire.
How ReplyT. Australia On the ban?
In a statement posted on Facebook, Morrison said that the big tech companies may change the world, but that doesn’t mean they have to run it.
He added: “Facebook’s behavior to cancel Australia’s friendship today, and cut basic health information and emergency services, was as much arrogance as it was disappointing.”
“I am in regular contact with leaders of other countries on these issues. Simply we will not be afraid,” he noted.
Morrison urged Facebook to work constructively with the government, “as Google recently demonstrated in good faith.”
Treasury Secretary Josh Friedenberg said the news ban had “had a major impact on society”. About 17 million Australians visit the social media site every month.
Other officials were less diplomatic: Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan accused the company of “acting like a dictator of North Korea”.
Others suggested that the news void could be filled with misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Lisa Davis, editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, in a tweet, described the move as a “tantrum”.
The director of Human Rights Watch in Australia said that Facebook is censoring the flow of information in the country, describing it as a “dangerous turn of events.”
“It is unreasonable to cut off access to vital information for an entire country in the dead of night,” said Eileen Pearson.
how it was The audience’s reaction?
Many Australians are outraged by their sudden loss of access to reliable sources.
Peter Firth, a man from Sydney, told the BBC: “It clearly looks very restrictive in what Facebook will allow people in the future, not only in Australia but all over the world.”
Amelia Marshall said that she could not believe the company’s decision “with the epidemic,” adding: “I have taken the long-awaited decision to permanently delete my account on Facebook.”