Facebook Just Banned News in Australia. Like, All of It.

The social network is taking the nuclear option in response to a proposed law that would force it to pay publishers

Will Oremus


Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images

Facebook announced Wednesday that it will no longer allow links to news articles in Australia — period. That means Australian users won’t be able to link to any news articles, from any source, and Australian news publishers won’t be allowed to post to Facebook at all. Facebook users in the rest of the world will also be unable to view or share links to Australian news sources.

The drastic measure, which Facebook had been threatening for months, comes ahead of a law expected to pass in Australia that would require online platforms to pay news organizations for hosting links to their content. Earlier Wednesday, Google struck a deal to provide “significant payments” to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in exchange for hosting the company’s journalism, a sign that Google intends to comply with the law, after earlier threatening not to. Microsoft has also said it will comply and stood ready for Bing to suddenly become Australia’s top search engine had Google opted to withdraw from the country.

Facebook took the position that the law was untenable because it would penalize Facebook for decisions freely made by publishers…