Facebook bans news appearing on its platform in Australia

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Facebook's hardball tactics in Australia could backfire

Facebook faced an angry backlash on Thursday after blocking news feeds in Australia in a surprise escalation of a dispute with the government which could be a test for the future of online publishing worldwide.

Facebook said it had blocked a wide swathe of pages because the draft law did not provide clearly define news content. 

The day after the ban, we checked some of the pages that had faced problems, including a satirical-news site, a women’s legal-services page, and a weather-forecasting platform. They had all been reactivated.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised on Friday to press ahead with a new law to force Facebook to pay media organisations for their content after a news blackout triggered outrage not only in Australia but in other countries where governments are considering similar laws.

Facebook stopped its 13 million Australian users from viewing and sharing news on Thursday, stripping the pages of domestic and foreign news outlets of content in a sharp escalation of a dispute over Australia’s plan to force technology giants to pay publishers for their content.