Facebook has blocked Australian users from sharing or viewing news content on the platform, causing much alarm over public access to key information.
It comes in response to a recent proposed law in Australia that would make tech giants pay for news content on their platforms.
Australians on Thursday woke up to find that Facebook pages of all local and global news sites were unavailable.
Several government health and emergency pages were also blocked â something Facebook later asserted was a mistake.
Those outside of the country are also unable to read or access any Australian news publications on the platform.
The Australian government has strongly criticised the move, saying it demonstrated the âimmense market power of these digital social giantsâ.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the ban on news information had a âhuge community impactâ. About 17 million Australians visit the social media site every month.
He said the government was committed to passing the law, and âwe would like to see them [Facebook] in Australia.
âBut I think their actions today were unnecessary and wrong,â he added.
Google and Facebook have fought the law because they say it doesnât reflect how the internet works, and unfairly âpenalisesâ their platforms.
However, in contrast to Facebook, Google has in recent days signed payment deals with three major Australian media outlets.
Facebookâs action came just hours after Google agreed to pay Rupert Murdochâs News Corp for content from news sites across its media empire. Rupert Murdoch is an Australian-born American media mogul. Through his companyÂ News Corp, he is the owner of hundreds ofÂ local, national, and international publishing outlets around the world.
Follow Us on Instagram