Culture secretary

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to meet with Facebook over Australian news ban, reports say

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has requested a meeting with Facebook after the social media giant banned news on its platform in Australia, according to reports.

Facebook on Thursday began removing news content from its platform in Australia due to a bill they say “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers.”

The ban not only affects Australians’ access to domestic news, but it has also had an effect on their access to international news and their exposure to potentially misleading information.

The country’s new code would create an arbitration panel to set a binding price for news in situations where Google and Facebook fail to reach agreements with media companies whose original journalism they are tied to.

According to The temperature and The Daily Telegraph, the culture secretary will speak to Facebook later in the week about what Mr Dowden called a ‘worrying development’, reports The temperature.

MP Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, said: “Facebook’s actions in Australia should be of great concern in the UK at a time when our own government proposes legislation to regulate social media. companies.

“Facebook has shown its utter disregard for the public interest, being too willing to use its power to advance its own agenda.”

Mr Knight added that the commission was “deeply concerned” about tackling “the scourge of misinformation” and worried that trusted sources of information were being promoted to do so.

There have been further concerns about whether or not Facebook users in the UK could face similar bans if relations deteriorate between tech companies and publishers.

Social media consultant Matt Navarra, speaking to the PA news agency, said the UK faced “no immediate threat” of a similar situation developing. However, he suggested that this could change in the future, if Australia and other countries lead by example.

A Facebook company spokesperson said: ‘The UK has taken a very different approach to Australia, which has allowed us to strike commercial deals with almost all of the major UK publishers.

“We are now paying tens of millions of pounds to national and local media in the UK to be part of Facebook News, the quality journalism tab we launched last month.

“We also expanded the Community News Project, which funds 80 trainee journalists in local newsrooms across the country.

Additional reports by agencies