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Australian PM Morrison discusses Facebook ‘news ban’ with PM Modi

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Sydney: As the controversial Facebook ‘news ban’ came against a proposed legislation, which is due to be debated by Australia’s Senate on Monday to make it a law, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday raised the law with his Indian counterpart Prime Minister Narendra Modi to know his response.

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Morrison said that there was garnering interest from other world leaders and “People are looking at what Australia is doing.”

Facebook ‘news ban’ comes in response to a planned Australian law that would force digital giants Facebook and Google to pay major Australian outlets for carrying snippets or links to their content on the platforms.

Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly held talks with the Australian government on Friday over the law that would force the social media giant to pay for content, as Morrison insisted the country would not bend to “threats” from big tech.

From Thursday, the Australians could no longer post links to news articles or view the Facebook pages of Australian outlets, which are also barred from sharing their content.

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Meanwhile, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he had spoken with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, and that negotiations would continue over the weekend.

“We talked through their remaining issues and agreed our respective teams would work through them immediately,” Frydenberg Twitter post read.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told media in Sydney that Facebook’s ban constituted a “threat”.

“I thought that was not a good move on their part, and they should move quickly past that, come back to the table,” he said.

However, Facebook has defended its response, saying the proposed legislation was “unworkable” and insisting it was forced to introduce the news blackout.

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The ban has reportedly saw a major decline in the number of visitors to Australian news sites both at home and abroad, with overseas traffic down by over 20 per cent per day, according to experts.

Whereas, according to data users were not yet leaving Facebook in response to the ban, however, with no apparent rise in Google search traffic recorded.

Facebook’s ban has drew widespread criticism for inadvertently blocking access to several critical government pages, including emergency services, health departments and the national weather service, with most restored in the hours after it came into effect.

Meanwhile, Google despite of its earlier threats to pull its search from Australia over the law, softened its stance and instead brokered several deals with large media companies.

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