Meta is considering blocking news content on Facebook for users in Australia.

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Meta May Block News Content for Australian Users

Meta May Restrict News Content for Australian Users

Quick Read

  • Meta might prevent access to news content in Australia if mandated to pay licensing fees.
  • In 2023, the company implemented a comparable measure in Canada.
  • Meta has current agreements with Australian media, however, it will not extend them past 2024.
  • Australia’s assistant treasurer is contemplating the implementation of the law.
  • Significant Australian television networks are reducing their workforce as a result of revenue declines linked to the expiration of agreements with Meta.
  • Meta argues that it adheres to other laws and claims it would follow media laws in a different manner.
Meta is considering blocking news content on Facebook for users in Australia.


Meta, the owner of Facebook, is contemplating the removal of news content from its Australian platform if the government mandates licensing fees. This information was disclosed by Mia Garlick, Meta’s regional policy director, at a parliamentary session.

Political and Regulatory Environment

The possible action arises from an untested law enacted in 2021, which gives the Australian government the authority to impose fees on US tech companies for linking to domestic media content. Garlick noted that Meta is awaiting Canberra’s decision on whether this law will be put into effect.

Comparisons to Canada

This strategy reflects Meta’s response in Canada in 2023 when a comparable law was enacted. The technology corporation adopted a stringent position by restricting news sharing to evade the licensing fees.

Effect on Media in Australia

Although Meta had earlier established agreements with Australian media organizations such as News Corp and the ABC, these contracts will conclude by the end of 2024, and Meta does not plan on extending them. As a result, Australia’s two major free-to-air TV broadcasters, Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media, have declared job reductions owing to projected revenue declines.

Official Statements

Australia’s assistant treasurer is still consulting on whether to implement the law. He suggested that Meta seems to only follow laws that are in its favor. In reaction, Garlick mentioned that restricting news content would also be a way of complying with the law, though it would differ from adherence to other rules such as tax and privacy laws.

Misinformation and Scams

Garlick stood up for Meta’s methods in handling complaints related to harmful misinformation or scams. However, she pointed out that all content moderation centers are based outside of Australia. This issue gained significance in light of the ongoing lawsuit by Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, who is suing Meta for displaying cryptocurrency scam ads that used his image.

Advertising Ethics

At the hearing, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young challenged Meta’s classification as an advertising company, given that some advertisements spread misinformation. Garlick replied that Meta uses policies and tools designed to prevent misleading ads.


Meta is considering the possibility of restricting news content on Facebook in Australia if required to pay licensing fees mandated by a 2021 law. This mirrors a strategy previously employed in Canada in 2023. The ultimate decision lies with Australia’s assistant treasurer, who is currently gathering recommendations on the issue. In the interim, leading Australian television networks are experiencing financial strain due to the impending expiration of their existing agreements with Meta.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What reasons is Meta considering for potentially blocking news content on Facebook in Australia?

Meta might prohibit news content if the Australian government implements a law mandating tech companies to pay licensing fees for linking to domestic media content.

Has Meta implemented similar measures in other countries?

A: Yes, Meta adopted a similar strategy in Canada in 2023 when confronted with analogous legislation.

What effect might this have on Australian media organizations?

Significant broadcasters, including Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media, have already disclosed layoffs in anticipation of revenue declines following the expiration of agreements with Meta.

What responsibility does Australia’s assistant treasurer hold in this context?

The assistant treasurer will determine whether to implement the 2021 legislation mandating Meta to pay licensing fees for news material.

Q: What measures does Meta take to address grievances related to false information and fraudulent activities?

Although Meta has measures to tackle these problems, all its content moderation centers are situated outside of Australia.

Q: Which ethical issues have been highlighted concerning Meta’s advertising methods?

Critics, such as Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, have raised concerns about how Meta can be regarded as an advertising company when certain ads disseminate false information.


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