Social media giant Facebook will prohibit publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content in response to Australia’s proposed media bargaining laws — a move Nine says will inhibit news creators from sharing quality news and information.

Facebook this morning said it was left with a “stark choice” after being unable to find a “solution” in discussions with the Australian Government. “The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” William Easton, Facebook’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, said in a blog post. Queensland Health was not the only site affected, with the Bureau of Meteorology’s page also wiped out. There were many other major services wiped out.

Among other essential services pages, news, city council pages, and department of fire and safety and emergency services. The announcement comes in response to proposed new laws in Australia that would force tech companies to negotiate with media companies over how much to pay them for news content.

APAN contracted Communications Minister Paul Fletcher’s office this morning for further clarity. Our concern is that the term “News” is very broad, and we are seeking a precise interpretation. The Minister’s office agreed that the term “news” is unclear and that they are seeking further understanding of the new Legislation Code that will provide a greater understanding of its interpretation.

Minister Paul Fletcher provides further information.

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