On Thursday, Facebook (FB) banned citizens of Australia from accessing or publishing any news on its applications. This drastic measure is a direct response to Australia's plan to make legislative changes that would force Facebook to pay for the content of news publishers.
The Australian government intends to address the issue of an unlevel playing field between Big Tech and smaller publishers. But Facebook isn’t alone. Google has also been in an open dispute with the Australian government about content rights, however, the search giant decided to pay the publishers.
Authorities have yet to cave. In fact, the Australian Premier Scott Morrison wrote that “these actions will only confirm the concerns an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of Big Tech” — ironically on Facebook.
Facebook reacted with an equally biting response, saying the legislative step sought “to penalise Facebook for content it didn’t take or ask for.” While the conflict, against the backdrop of ad revenues continuously migrating from traditional media outlets towards larger tech corporations, will most likely continue, the party that suffers most are the consumers.