Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday that other countries are joining Australia’s efforts to regulate tech giant Facebook by requiring it to pay local media outlets for publishing content on its platform.
Among the list of countries planning to follow Canberra’s lead against the monopoly controlled by the social network are Canada, India, France, and the United Kingdom, as pointed out by Breitbart News.
Morrison called Facebook’s move to block content from its platform in Australia from Thursday in the face of demands for the company to pay for media content “arrogant.”
“I would just say to Facebook; this is Australia. You want to do business here; you work according to our rules, and that’s a reasonable proposition,” the Australian prime minister noted.
“We’re happy to listen to them on the technical issues of this, just like we listened to Google and came to a sensible arrangement,” Morrison said, claiming that the decision taken by Facebook to block some content on its platform is a kind of “threat.”
“These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behavior of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them,” he continued.
“We will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament as it votes on our important News Media Bargaining Code,” Morrison added, according to India TV News.
Under the Media Bargaining Code, Australian lawmakers proposed that tech giants such as Facebook or Google have a duty to pay Australian media for their content.
Morrison is close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pointed out that he had already spoken with him and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the situation.
He also added that both British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron are closely monitoring the issue.
For its part, Facebook said Thursday that the proposed Australian law “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and the publishers who use it,” indicating that it is not yet ready to submit to Canberra, according to Breitbart News.
According to Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Google accounts for 53 percent of Australia’s online advertising revenue and Facebook 23 percent.
Facebook’s decision to deprive Australians of content prompted thousands of users on social networks to mobilize, calling for a boycott of the tech giant. Through the hashtags ‘Delete Facebook,’ ‘Boycott Zuckerberg,’ and ‘Facebook We Need To Talk,’ the claims against the company became a trend on Twitter.
The measure even caused discomfort among progressive sectors. A democratic lawmaker for Rhode Island, David Cicilline, said that Facebook was not compatible with democracy and, in that sense, urged people to give up Instagram and Whatsapp as well.
Former Facebook Australia executive Stephen Scheeler criticized Facebook and called the move “alarming,” accusing the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, of being motivated by “money, power, and not [by the] good.”
According to the Daily Mail, British MP Julian Knight claimed that the company appeared to be using Australia as a “test case” for how democracies would react to the news ban and called on lawmakers worldwide to “rein in” the tech giant.