Facebook restricts the availability of news on its platform in Australia

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Today we made an incredibly difficult decision to restrict the availability of news on Facebook in Australia. For the last three years, Facebook has worked closely with the Australian government on regulation that would help better define the relationships between technology companies and news organizations. Regulatory environments conducive to strong collaboration allow us to build innovative and sustainable ways to support journalism for the long term.

What the proposed law introduced in Australia fails to recognize is the fundamental nature of the relationship between our platform and publishers. 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 organizations wouldn’t use Facebook if it didn’t help their bottom lines. But we think we can do more and through the Facebook Journalism Project we have the right resources and team in place to bring innovation to the future of digital news.

We launched The Facebook Journalism Project four years ago to work with publishers to help them succeed on our platform. We pay hundreds of publishers for access to more of their content for Facebook News, a product we’re working to bring to more countries this year. Through meaningful collaborations with publishers, we’ve built free tools, products and programs and we’ve landed on ideas that actually work. Our Accelerator programs have brought real financial benefit to over 120 publishers across the world. Updates to Instant Articles and our subscriptions product have improved monetization for publishers significantly. We’re bringing Facebook News to more markets this year, beginning with the UK, which we launched in January, and we’ll continue to build new products for and with publishers. We’re also kicking off a new focus area of the Facebook Journalism Project to support independent journalism.

Navigating the changes that come with becoming a digital-first business is not easy, and the news industry has long struggled with this. Only through communication and collaboration can we partner with publishers to provide tools and products that truly help with this transition – both on and off our platform. It is critical that regulatory environments invite investment and innovation that will support as many news publishers as possible.

I hope in the future, we can include news for people in Australia once again. For now, we continue to be focused on bringing Facebook News and other new products to more countries and we have no intention of slowing down.

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