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Facebook accused of being ‘school yard bully’ over Australia news media block

Facebook has been described as a “school yard bully” over its decision to block access to news media in Australia, rather than pay them.

According to Sky News, Amid a row about licensing, Australians woke up on Thursday to find they could not share or view domestic and international news content on Facebook ahead of new a law which would force the platform to pay for including this content.

In response, the UK’s News Media Association chairman, Henry Faure Walker, described the ban during the global COVID-19 pandemic as “a classic example of a monopoly power being the school yard bully, trying to protect its dominant position with scant regard for the citizens and customers it supposedly serves.”

“Facebook’s actions in Australia demonstrate precisely why we need jurisdictions across the globe, including the UK, to coordinate to deliver robust regulation to create a truly level playing between the tech giants and news publishers,” Mr Walker added.

Facebook has launched a Facebook News tab in the UK after completing deals with many of the country’s major news providers, including Sky News, the Financial Times, and The Guardian.

The blocks mean that internationally people can’t access domestic Australian news content, and domestically Australians can’t access any news content at all.

Among the Australian pages to be blocked the company also appears to have accidentally blocked the Sky News UK page. Sky News licenses its name to an Australian broadcaster, but the organisations are completely independent.

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