Now that the link tax has been announced in Australia, Facebook is reacting with a media block. Users and also publishers can no longer share content from Australian media, and it will not be displayed.
Facebook’s media block is already being implemented
Reactions to the link tax in Australia could not be more different. Facebook sees a radical strategy as the right reaction to the announced link tax. Google, on the other hand, reached an agreement with Murdoch’s News Corporation. The social media platform now simply blocks all Australian media. In addition, Facebook will also no longer display the content of international media to Australian users. Facebook has already started with the measures, according to reports. With this, the US company wants to react to the planned media code. According to the media code, providers such as Facebook and Google should first enter into negotiations with registered news offerings before making such news content available on their pages or enabling interaction. Such interactions are understood to include, for example, linking. Facebook had already announced the total media block last year, and now the company has decided to put its announcement into action.
Google is taking a different approach
In order to escape the applications of the media code, Google quickly reached agreements with Australian publishers in the last few days. On Wednesday, Google reached an agreement with Australian Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The agreement between the two companies will not only provide for a stake in the News Showcase program, it will also establish a joint subscription platform. The revenues of the platform will then be shared.
Facebook prefers the announced block
Facebook does not see this strategy as the right reaction. With the media block, the social media platform wants to clarify that the media code “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content”. In addition, Facebook makes clear that the media benefits much more from social networks than the networks themselves. In a blog, this statement is further supported: “Last year, Facebook generated around 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers, worth an estimated 407 million Australian dollars (302 million euros).” The social network, on the other hand, makes a rather small profit, as only about 4 percent of the content displayed in the newsfeed is news.
To implement the media block, Facebook plans to use a combination of technology to ensure that Australian media access is prevented. If content is inadvertently removed as a result of the block, the company has also provided procedures for doing so. Access to the Facebook presence will not be completely restricted for the Australian media, and certain functions will still be usable.