India, Canada & ‘15 other countries’ set to join Australia by demanding ‘schoolyard bully’ Facebook pay for news stories

INDIA and Canada are set to join forces with Australia in demanding that “schoolyard bully” Facebook pays for news stories.

It comes as the social media giant was condemned for imposing a news blackout in Australia in response to a law compelling tech companies to pay for journalism.


Facebook has blocked all news publishers in Australia from posting to its site, and has also prevented its users around the globe from sharing Australian news articles. 

But the decision has sparked outrage among Facebook users and politicians, with #DeleteFacebook and #BoycottZuckerberg trending on Twitter in the past week.

Up to 15 countries could soon join Australia in ramping up pressure on tech giants to pay for trusted news, it is claimed.

Aussie PM Scott Morrison said that he discussed the country’s new media law in a call with Indian leader Narendra Modi on Thursday. 

Mr Morrison said: “There's a lot of interest in it… People are looking at what Australia is doing.”

'UNSUSTAINABLE'

Canada also vowed to create its own law obligating the social media giant pay for news content, stressing that its current approach would become “totally unsustainable”. 

Steven Guilbeault, the culture minister in charge of creating the legislation, said: “Canada is at the forefront of this battle.

"We are really among the first group of countries around the world that are doing this.”

“I suspect that soon we will have five, ten, 15 countries adopting similar rules.

"Is Facebook going to cut ties with Germany, with France?”

British MPs also hit out at Facebook's behaviour, claiming the tech giant is showing a "staggering lack of respect" for democratic processes.

Julian Knight, Conservative chairman of the digital, culture, sport and media select committee, said Facebook's actions would raise questions over whether the UK government should toughen its upcoming online harms legislation.

He told The Times: "These bully-boy tactics are absolutely crass and irresponsible, particularly at a time of global pandemic when people need trusted news sources.

"It's Australia first, who will be next?"

The news blackout also meant that millions of Australians were left without crucial information on the coronavirus vaccine as the government prepares to roll out the jab.

Australia's state health department said it uses Facebook to alert locals to emergencies, including Covid-19 and flu, to bushfire smoke, heatwaves, and storms and flooding.

The blackout comes in response to a new law called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, which would force Google and Facebook to pay for news content that they host on their platforms.

Earlier this week, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp announced a global agreement with Google that will see them pay for stories.

The ground-breaking deal by the ultimate owner of The Sun and The Times will see the media company contribute to Google News Showcase, an update to its news search platform.

The Sun will be among the many News Corp publications joining the showcase and the payments involved will be “significant”.

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