The battle between the Australian government and the tech giants over a law which would make them pay for news content has been rumbling on for a while.
But Facebook’s move to ban all Australian news content from its platform has taken the conflict to a whole new level.
One of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers described it as “an act of war”. But others see the actions of Australia’s politicians as being an outrage against the principle of net neutrality.
This week’s Tech Tent podcast asks whether Mark Zuckerberg overplayed his hand, making it more likely that other countries will follow Australia’s lead.
If Facebook’s founder thought that his bold move to impose a news blackout in one country would make politicians around the world rethink how they regulate his company, he may have been right.
The problem is that they now seem even more determined to clip its wings.
For one thing, the way Facebook carried out its bold move ended up looking ham-fisted.
“They botched it, there’s absolutely no doubt about that,” says Steve Evans, a former BBC correspondent who is now a reporter for the Canberra Times.
“Not only did they block media organisations, but they blocked government health websites. So access to up-to-the minute information about Covid, for example, was suddenly not available on Facebook.”
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Facebook reverses ban on news pages in Australia