On Feb. 18, Facebook blocked its Australian users from sharing news stories on its platform, furthering the debate over whether powerful tech companies should have to pay news organizations for content. Doing so escalated a fight with the Australian government, who condemned the step since it blocked some government communications, including messages about emergency services and some commercial pages. The Australian House of Representatives passed a legislation that would force companies such as Facebook and Google to pay for Australian journalism.
Digital platforms fear that what’s happening in Australia will translate into other countries as governments revamp laws. Facebook’s actions were condemned by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said that “… the behavior of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them…we will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament.” The rebellious acts of BigTech companies could lead to similar legislative action being passed throughout the world.