Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Facebook is only hurting itself by banning Australian news articles

It's funny how there always seem to be things happening in the news that make absolutely no sense to me. Now, maybe that says more about me than about the news, but take this for instance: Facebook is planning to block news articles from its platform in Australia because Australia is now insisting that Facebook pay for the news articles it shares.
Now, setting aside the fact that it seems entirely reasonable that Australian publishers charge a fee when Facebook shares its articles, how is this actually a "threat" by Facebook? All it is doing is pissing off its own members, no? And why would Australia and its news publishers worry if Facebook "bans" news articles from its platform? Surely, people would then just go directly to the news websites for their news, which is hardly an inconvenience for anyone (except Facebook, which is no longer providing one of the services its members expect from it).
Yes, in theory, under the current system, Facebook shares may drive some traffic to news publishers' websites, but in practice how often does that actually happen? Meanwhile, Facebook is benefitting from improved advertising opportunities, not the news outlets, and the relationship with tech giants like Facebook is far from equal.
Maybe I'm missing something in this analysis, but I don't really see why anyone but Facebook should be upset.

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