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‘Not our first choice’: Facebook threatens to block news in Australia

Social media behemoth Facebook is threatening to ban news from being shared on its main app and Instagram in Australia in a major attack on a new regulatory code that would force it and Google to pay publishers for content.

Facebook Australia managing director Will Easton said the proposed legislation, which was announced by the competition regulator in July, misunderstands “the dynamic of the internet” and will damage news organisations.

Managing director of Facebook Australia Will Easton has launched a scathing attack on the local competition regulator.

Managing director of Facebook Australia Will Easton has launched a scathing attack on the local competition regulator.Credit:Louise Kennerley

“Assuming this draft code becomes law, we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram. This is not our first choice – it is our last,” Mr Easton said.

“We already invest millions of dollars in Australian news businesses and, during discussions over this legislation, we offered to invest millions more. We had also hoped to bring Facebook News to Australia, a feature on our platform exclusively for news, where we pay publishers for their content.

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