"Everything that I have heard from parties, both in the news media business and in terms of digital platforms, is that these are generous deals", Frydenberg says. In 2019, Facebook announced deals to pay some publishers to share stories inside a dedicated news section of its main app. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the plan at an event in NY with News Corp.'s Thomson.
In a blog post attributed to Facebook A/NZ managing director, Will Easton, the social media giant stated it is now restricting Australian publishers from sharing or posting any content as a direct response to the Australian Government's endorsement of the ACCC-penned News Media Bargaining Code.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions - whose members represent two million workers across the country - can also no longer be accessed via Facebook.
However Mr Fletcher said the government would continue to move ahead with legislating the code.
Google had also threatened to pull its search engine from Australia but hasn't moved forward with it yet.
As Canada prepares sweeping new regulations for online content, Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is in regular contact with the handful of governments already headed in that direction - some of them dealing with fierce blowback from Facebook and Google.
Worldwide publishers can still post to Facebook, but links and posts won't be able to be viewed in Australia.
Google has reportedly struck a $30 million deal with Australian broadcaster Nine Entertainment amid growing political pressure to rebalance the relationship between tech platforms and legacy media outlets.
Mr Easton wrote that the proposed legislation "seeks to penalise Facebook for content it didn't take or ask for".
Under the proposed Australian legislation, platforms would have to negotiate with publishers over access to links to news stories.
Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven West Media, which owns 21 publications, said the threat of the proposed code had made the deal possible.
UPDATE: Feb. 17, 2021, 3:32 p.m. EST This post was updated to include more information about and images of what Australian news outlets' Facebook pages look like after Facebook cut them off.
"The law would unfairly require unknown payments for simply showing links to news businesses, while giving, to a favored few, special previews of search ranking", he said. "We will now prioritise investments to other countries, as part of our plans to invest in new licensing news programs and experiences".
Mr. Guilbeault said in an interview that while he's looking closely at France's and Australia's approach to social media and news, and speaks regularly with officials in those countries, Canada's approach will be unique.
Thomson, during an earnings call earlier this month, said he hoped News Corp.'s effort would lead to similar arrangements with other news publishers.
"This decision will undoubtedly have an outsized effect on small and medium-sized digital publishers, which will have a significant detrimental impact on the diversity of media voices available to Australians".