Why you can no longer share or see news on Facebook in Australia.
14 million Australians connect on Facebook everyday and we are proud of the role we have in building Australian communities and growing their businesses.
Unfortunately, in response to Australia's proposed News Media Bargaining Code legislation, Facebook will have to restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook.
People outside of Australia also cannot view or share Australian news content or content from Australian news Pages on Facebook.
This is not the outcome we wanted and it's a step we take reluctantly. The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.
This discussion has focused on U.S. technology companies and how they benefit from news content on their services. We understand many will ask why the platforms may respond differently. The answer is because our platforms have fundamentally different relationships with news. Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content. On the other hand, publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audiences and increase advertising revenue.
Last year Facebook generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million. Despite some of these discussions, Facebook does not steal, take or copy news content.
Over the past few years we’ve built dedicated, free tools to support news organisations around the world in innovating their content for online audiences. We've also made multi-million dollar investments in Australian journalism and news organisations. We were prepared to increase our investments in the local industry, including the rollout of our dedicated news product, Facebook News, to support Australian publishers, however we were only prepared to do this with the right rules in place.
The proposed law ignores these investments and the real value we provide to news organisations. The proposed law is written in a way that means we have to treat all publishers the same: if one publisher is out, it requires that all publishers must also be out, even if they are happy with the benefits they receive from Facebook.
The changes affecting news content - which constitutes less than 4 percent of content shared on Facebook - will not otherwise change Facebook's products and services in Australia. We want to assure the millions of Australians using Facebook to connect with friends and family, grow their business and join Groups to help support their local communities, that these services will not change.
We hope that in the future the Australian Government will recognise the value we already provide and help us to strengthen, rather than limit, our partnerships with publishers.
Read more about our decision at the Facebook newsroom.
Read more about how people can appeal by clicking directly on the notification on their Page which will bring them to the help Centre & appeal form.
Read more about the details of our engagement with the Australian Government and the news industry on this legislation.
Your Questions Answered
Q: What’s happening?
A: In response to Australia's proposed new Media Bargaining law in Australia, Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook.
Q: What will users see when they try to post or share news content?
A: For our Australian community this means they cannot view or share Australian or international news content on Facebook or content from Australian and international news Pages.
For our international community this means they cannot to view or share Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian news Pages.
Q: How does Facebook define news?
A: The proposed law does not provide any clear guidance on the definition of a news business or news content and was intentionally written to be broad and all-encompassing of news entities. Therefore, we are forced to take a broad definition of news to identify Pages that share news content. This impacts Pages that share content from certain domains. Australian Pages that share news content are restricted entirely on Facebook. For global Pages, we’ve restricted Australians from posting or sharing content from these Pages. If a Page is experiencing issues, we encourage them to make use of the appeal process and we will review the action taken.
Q: What will happen when users try to share news content? How are you going to monitor this?
A: Australian users are restricted from being able to post links to news domains. Global users will be restricted from being able to post links to Australian news domains.
Q: Does this mean Australian users won’t be able to access the news when in other countries?
A: Australian users will not be able to access news content on Facebook, even when traveling. We provide more information about Facebook's Location settings here.
Q: Does this mean the news publishers pages will be removed from Facebook?
A: No. We are not removing any Pages as part of these changes.
Q: Will it be all news content or just content from Australian news organisations?
A: Australian users are restricted from being able to post, share or see any news content - either from Australian or global news organisations or entities. Users outside of Australia cannot post, share or see any news content from Australian news organisations or entities.
Q: Why is Facebook making this decision?
A: The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law, that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.
Q: How has Facebook supported Australian news industry?
A: During the past two years we’ve invested many millions of dollars in commercial agreements with news organisations -- big and small -- for high-quality news video content. We have also made investments both on and off our platforms to support journalists, academics, and news organisations as they develop sustainable business models. We have recruited several full-time employees into a number of new partner-facing roles in news partnerships.
In 2020, we have invested millions of dollars with smaller and rural news partners as part of our reader revenue accelerator program, global support for newsrooms in response to COVID-19 including our COVID-19 emergency relief fund in partnership with the Walkley Foundation.
During discussions over this proposed law, 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. We recently announced the expansion of this product to the UK These deals were made based on the commercial realities that reflect the value Facebook provides publishers and completed without the need for overreaching regulation. We will now prioritise our multi-million dollar investments in news to other countries.
Q: Where can I find news about COVID-19?
A: We recognise it’s important to connect people to authoritative information and we will continue to promote dedicated information hubs like the COVID-19 Information Centre, that connects Australians with relevant health information.