Facebook Inc’s FB actions to “unfriend Australia” have not gone down well with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who criticized the social media giant on Thursday.
What Happened: Morrison termed Facebook’s actions of cutting of essential services on health and emergency as “arrogant” and “disappointing.”
“These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the [behavior] of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them,” wrote Morrison in a Facebook post.
“They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it,” said the Australian leader.
Morrison said that Australia would not be intimidated by BigTech which seeks to exert pressure on the country’s parliament as it votes on a law that singles out Facebook and Alphabet Inc GOOGL GOOG subsidiary Google for compensating Australian media for news.
The prime minister said Australia was not intimidated by Amazon.com, Inc AMZN, which he said had threatened to leave the country.
“I encourage Facebook to constructively work with the Australian Government, as Google recently demonstrated in good faith.”
Why It Matters: Facebook wiped clean news feeds from Australian media on Wednesday which also affected government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reported Reuters.
The actions of Facebook also affected local government accounts that provide information on the ongoing pandemic and other emergencies. Non-governmental organizations and charities were also affected.
This month, the Sundar Pichai-led company rolled out a News Showcase platform in Australia for offering news paid by it.
Google had last month threatened to deprive Australians of its search engine if the country would force it to pay local media for content.
Price Action: Facebook shares closed 0.15% lower at $273.57 on Wednesday and gained 0.3% in the after-hours session.
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