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Why Facebook Turned Off The News In Australia

Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store.  (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)
Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

Facebook hits delete on the news in Australia in response to regulation. Should the platform hold this level of power? And what could the standoff mean for journalism on social media worldwide?

Guests

Elizabeth Renieris, founding director of the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab. Human rights fellow at Harvard’s Carr Center. Fellow at Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab. (@hackylawyER)

Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York. Author of “What Would Google Do?” (@jeffjarvis)

Elizabeth Dwoskin, Silicon Valley correspondent at the Washington Post. (@lizzadwoskin)

Also Featured

Mary-Jane Fenech, engagement producer at Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). (@mary_janef)

Stephen Scheeler, Former Facebook CEO for Australia and New Zealand.

From The Reading List

Washington Post: “Facebook, Australia reach deal to restore news pages after shutdown” — “Facebook agreed to restore news pages on its site in Australia after it said late Monday that it had reached a favorable deal with the government there.”

Associated Press: “Unfriended no more: Facebook to lift Australia news ban” — “Facebook announced Tuesday that it would lift a ban on Australians viewing and sharing news on its platform after it struck a deal with the government on proposed legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.”

Washington Post: “Facebook’s brazen attempt to crush regulations in Australia may backfire” — “Facebook’s decision to flip a switch Wednesday night — causing Australia’s news industry to go dark on the social network — was a remarkable flexing of power by one of the world’s mightiest companies.”

SMH: “As a former Facebook chief, here’s my verdict: It’s a shameless demonstration of corporate might” — “Lying at the heart of Facebook’s abrupt ban on all Australian news is a global strategic gamble that will have a huge bearing not just on Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth, but on the dynamic between Big Tech and democracy.”

New York Times: “Facebook’s New Look in Australia: News and Hospitals Out, Aliens Still In” — “A digitally savvy nation woke up Thursday to a shock on Facebook: The news was gone.”

Technology Review: “What we can learn from the Facebook-Australia news debacle” — “Democracies around the world are all mired in one crisis or another, which is why measures of their health are trending in the wrong direction. Many look at the decline of the news industry as one contributing factor.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.