Traditional media operators and governments world-wide are watching with keen interest as Australian media companies and the Australian government battle over the question of who should control the generation and flow of objective news and information to the people of Australia.

For some months the Australian government has thrown its support behind a campaign by the nation’s principal news organisations in their fight against the global social media giants over their practice of harvesting and rebroadcasting news and information content from the traditional media – at no cost to themselves.

Insult to such injury has been massively magnified by social media networks vacuuming up the advertising revenue on which the traditional media had depended upon for paying for quality journalism, infrastructure, and the expenses associated with the gathering of news – whether for the press, radio or television.

Regional and local newspapers are not exempt from the dragnet tactics of the international players.

It has taken the threat by the federal government to institute a regulated approach to the operation of organisations such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit and YouTube before the previously unified ‘stonewalling’ approach by the social media giants began to crack

Google, at last, decided that it had some social obligation to Australian citizens for on-going access to locally-generated news and has entered agreements with a number of large news providers to return some of the advertising revenue they generate from this country to originators of the news they republish on-line.

Many Australians have been shocked to learn that their keenness to click on advertising carried on social media sites generates more than $4 billion a year for the foreign-owned platforms.

Now, Google has agreed to return some of the money it collects to the news providers here.

Not so, Facebook!

Facebook said on Wednesday that users and publishers in Australia won’t be able to put news on its site.

Facebook has snubbed the government and the Australian publishers. The decision means that Australian publishers will not be able to share or post content to their official Facebook pages.

Publishers, large and small, who depend upon their Facebook site wholly, to in part, have been left scrambling for new ways in which to reach their audience.

According to research published in December 2020 by Genroe, Facebook is Australia’s third highest trafficked site after Google and YouTube.

Evidently 16.5 million (66 per cent), of Australians are monthly active Facebook users.

Australian Facebook users are the fourth most active ‘likers’ in the world – an average of 15 likes per month vs the global average of 12.

Facebook, it seems, has drawn a line in the sand and is now standing back waiting for the government to cave in.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his minions apparently hold no truck with the argument that their company has a high degree of social – and moral – responsibility in their dealings with Australia.

It would be a sad world indeed if the day ever comes that foreign companies ever think that their will can trump the sovereign will of an independent sovereign nation.

It couldn’t happen, could it!?


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