THE LEX COLUMN: Dispute over news grows as Facebook pulls plug on Australia
Social network blocks users from viewing news after Australia diverts some tech profits to news publishers
Facebook has unfriended Australia. The social network’s news blackout came hours after Canberra trumpeted its “historic, world-leading” plans to divert some tech profits to news publishers. But it would be premature to conclude that legislators overreached. Google's deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp vindicates the proposed law’s ability to bring warring parties to the table.
The stakes were not as high for Facebook. It says news makes up less than 4% of the content in people’s feeds, even though it is the most important source of information for many. For Google, by contrast, news plays an integral role in search, even if the ad revenues sold against it are relatively small...