Facebook Isolationism

For those that don’t know, Facebook has started blocking some news services in Australia as a protest/reaction to new media laws from the Australian government. Some of the current fall-out is explained here

It is worth pointing out that there are no good guys here. The media laws demanding that Google and Facebook pay for the news content that they profit off are primarily a product of lobbying from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. They appear to me to be clumsy and potentially disruptive to users other than Facebook and Google but I’m no expert. On the other hand Facebook is awful. It’s a battle between the interest of a news conglomerate that has spent decades spruiking hate versus a social media company that has help fuel at least one genocide.

Also, Facebook attempting to bully a national government is not atypical behaviour for international corporations but is also appalling. Notably, Google appear to have backed down and is negotiating with media companies to share some of the revenue. In a broader perspective, having news companies continue to create content is in the long-term commercial interest of both Google and Facebook.

9 thoughts on “Facebook Isolationism

    1. Yes, they exploited their ubiquity to create a dependency. In Australia, lots of local services including Fire and police stations use Facebook as a local blog — which can be critical in an emergency. That’s a step states need to take right now: advise schools, fire stations and local police to get off Facebook and provide them with technical support to do so.

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  1. Reading the BBC coverage makes it really unclear what Facebook would have to pay for. I do not believe that they should have to pay for links and a minimal description. Nor do I believe that they should be forced to pay for stories the news media themselves place on the site (it would be great if they did have a sensible arrangement to pay for stories but compelling payment seems a bad idea). If they are effectively republishing news stories on Facebook, then that is something that should be paid for.

    I’m not at all a fan of Facebook. I absolutely refuse to set up a Facebook account. But it really isn’t clear how this law is justified, or what Facebook is doing that needs to be curbed or paid for.

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    1. Yeah…it a mess. News outlets need Facebook and Google and vice versa. However, the money flows to Facebook and Google and News Corp have decided that wealth inequality caused by an economic power difference within capitalism is a bad thing if it hurts News Corp.

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      1. In that case – and reading the coverage on Ars Technica – I have to say that while Facebook went overboard in their response they are largely right. For once.

        Making Facebook look like the good guys is quite an achievement, but not one to be proud of.

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  2. In Germany and the EU, some news conglomerates are pushing for similar legislation. And the noisiest one as a company almost as awful as New Corp.

    The problem isn’t so much the big companies who’ve after all done this to themselves, but small websites who get preemptively shut down via the same law. I just saw a tweet by an Australian labour rights organisation/trade union, who can’t share their own content on Facebook, because they’re suddenly a news site.

    The same thing happened when the exceedingly ill thought out EU general data protection regulations went into effect. Suddenly, all sorts of websites blanket banned anyboy from the EU trying to access them. These weren’t the big sites that had to fear being sued, though some major newspapers like the Los Angeles Times were unavailable for a while as well. No, it was small sites like a great Cajun recipe site or the Crime Writers Association of Canada that were suddenly blocked and still are.

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  3. When someone providing a service that was formerly free begins charging for it, the customer can choose to stop using the service instead of paying. Why should Facebook pay for things it doesn’t want? Let the news companies put up their stories on their own sites, and search engines will still find them. Of course the search engines will be less useful since the sources want the engines to pay for showing snippets too. Once upon a time, Google refused to capitulate to this, in Spain, but I guess things have changed. Not for the better.

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  4. Google’s search, the one thing they are concerned with above all else, depends on access to news. Facebook does not. That’s why Google backed down and Facebook didn’t. But I suspect Facebook wouldn’t be able to sustain it forever.

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