Facebook says it will restrict publishers and users in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.

The social media giant said in a blog post that the move was in response to the federal government’s proposed legislation to create a news media bargaining code.

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” Facebook said.

“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.”

The legislation, which has bipartisan support, will give the treasurer power to choose which companies are subject to it.

Under the code, a panel – decided by the negotiating parties or the media watchdog – would hear offers and make a decision on payment for news content.

“Today we made an incredibly difficult decision to restrict the availability of news on Facebook in Australia,” Facebook vice president of global news partnerships Campbell Brown said in a separate statement.

“Contrary to what some have suggested, Facebook does not steal news content. Publishers choose to share their stories on Facebook.

“From finding new readers to getting new subscribers and driving revenue, news organisations wouldn’t use Facebook if it didn’t help their bottom lines.”



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