Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said that he spoke to his Indian and Canadian counterparts, Narendra Modi and Justin Trudeau, on his decision to ask Facebook and Google to pay media in the country for news content published on their platforms, AFP reported.
Morrison said that the legislation approved by the lower house of the Parliament in Australia was the first of its kind in the world and was garnering interest from leaders around the world. “People are looking at what Australia is doing,” he said, according to AFP.
“That is why I invite...Facebook to constructively engage because they know that what Australia will do here is likely to be followed by many other Western jurisdictions,” Morrison told reporters, according to Reuters.
Morrison’s comments came as the tussle between Facebook and the Australian government reached sort of a culmination after the social media platform announced on Thursday that it has blocked users in the country from sharing news. The move was a response to the law, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, which will be debated by Australia’s Upper House, the Senate, from Monday and is expected to be adopted by the end of next week, according to AFP.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Friday said in a tweet that he has spoken to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to find a way. He said negotiations would continue over the weekend.
“We talked through their remaining issues and agreed our respective teams would work through them immediately,” Frydenberg said.
In its statement announcing the move to block news websites in Australia, Facebook said that the law misunderstood “the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content”.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s move had an impact on traffic to Australian news websites, Reuters reported, quoting data from New York-based analytics firm Chartbeat.
Total traffic to the Australian news sites from various platforms fell from the day before the ban by around 13% within the country and by about 30% outside the country, Chartbeat data showed. Similarly, traffic to the Australian news sites from Facebook alone plummeted from around 21% to about 2% within Australia, and from around 30% to about 4% outside the country.