Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

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kiwigreg369
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by kiwigreg369 »

Ali's Choice wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:36 pm
guy smiley wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:33 pm
Ali's Choice wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:29 pm It's quite amazing that with the stroke of a pen, the Australian govt has made Facebook the financial slave of Rupert Murdoch's Australian based news sites. Facebook must host News Ltd's content and must pay them whatever they demand until the end of time. I've never previously seen a business and a govt collaborate in the shakedown of another business quite so openly and shamelessly.
SS - this is what happens when the human caterpillar GS-AC turns to quickly, some of the shit causes a blockage.

On the actions of Facebook - GS, having read the legislation and Newscorps submission, has confirmed this as fact. They are the same.


Sorry... I haven’t seen any detail of any agreement that either party has entered into, yet you are saying you have.

What is the nature of this agreement and how does that preempt the redrafted legislation that Facebook has announced the govt will put in place allowing them the liberty of a return to business as before?
I was talking about the old legislation. And given Josh Frydenberg has repeatedly boasted that the govt won't be backing down to FB, I just assumed the bill hadn't changed to any significant extent.
SS - this is what happens when the human caterpillar GS-AC turns to quickly, some of the shit causes a blockage.

On the actions of Facebook - GS, having read the legislation and Newscorps submission, has confirmed this as fact. They are the same.
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guy smiley
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by guy smiley »

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Pat the Ex Mat
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Pat the Ex Mat »

kiwigreg369 wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:14 am

SS - this is what happens when the human caterpillar GS-AC turns to quickly, some of the shit causes a blockage.

:shock: :lol:
grievous
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by grievous »

kiwigreg369 wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:14 am
Ali's Choice wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:36 pm
guy smiley wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:33 pm
Ali's Choice wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:29 pm It's quite amazing that with the stroke of a pen, the Australian govt has made Facebook the financial slave of Rupert Murdoch's Australian based news sites. Facebook must host News Ltd's content and must pay them whatever they demand until the end of time. I've never previously seen a business and a govt collaborate in the shakedown of another business quite so openly and shamelessly.
SS - this is what happens when the human caterpillar GS-AC turns to quickly, some of the shit causes a blockage.

On the actions of Facebook - GS, having read the legislation and Newscorps submission, has confirmed this as fact. They are the same.


Sorry... I haven’t seen any detail of any agreement that either party has entered into, yet you are saying you have.

What is the nature of this agreement and how does that preempt the redrafted legislation that Facebook has announced the govt will put in place allowing them the liberty of a return to business as before?
I was talking about the old legislation. And given Josh Frydenberg has repeatedly boasted that the govt won't be backing down to FB, I just assumed the bill hadn't changed to any significant extent.
SS - this is what happens when the human caterpillar GS-AC turns to quickly, some of the shit causes a blockage.

On the actions of Facebook - GS, having read the legislation and Newscorps submission, has confirmed this as fact. They are the same.
human caterpillar GS-AC
:lol: :lol: :lol:
KG hands down funniest thing youve posted, its so true...im adopting this new bordism
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Sensible Stephen
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Sensible Stephen »

guy smiley wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:54 am Check it yourselves...

https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/f ... s_corp.pdf
So, you lied.
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guy smiley
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by guy smiley »

From crikey...
Government folds to Facebook, hands tech giant strong bargaining power

The government has caved in to Facebook, giving the social media giant much greater control in dealings with media companies

Facebook has successfully called the bluff of the Morrison government, with a few days’ shutdown of the pages of Australia’s media companies — and plenty of other collateral damage — securing a major watering-down of the government’s extortion racket “news media bargaining code”.

Yesterday Treasurer Josh Frydenberg blinked and announced a new set of amendments to the legislation that “will provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the code is intended to operate

When the amendments appeared yesterday evening — so hastily drafted the new supplementary explanatory memorandum had a typo in it — they showed the government had significantly shifted the balance of power of the code in favour of Facebook.

The tech giant duly signalled it would restore the pages of the media companies, albeit reserving the right to take them down again in the future.

Facebook was particularly aggrieved that under the existing code, the entire process, from being designated under the code, to being packed off, to final offer arbitration, could be rushed through by publishers. Now it needs to be given a month’s notice about being designated, and final offer arbitration — the government’s trump card in the whole code, under which an arbitrator could only pick one offer out of the platform’s and publishers — is now a “last resort” that will only occur after two months of mediation.

Moreover the process of being designated under the code now requires the treasurer to “also consider whether the group comprised of the responsible digital platform corporation and all of its related bodies corporate has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through agreements in relation to news content of Australian news businesses”.

And those “agreements” can now vary dramatically between media companies. Previously, a media company could trigger what is called the “non-differentiation” clause if it was eligible under the code but didn’t receive the same deal as other media companies.

Not merely can Facebook now remunerate different companies differently without triggering the clause, it can give preferential ranking to one company over another.

Facebook can do a deal with Nine for $20 million, but then do a deal with News Corp for $15 million and, in exchange, rank News Corp’s content over Nine’s.

And the non-differentiation clause itself has been tightened so that only “news sources which regularly produce covered news content” are covered.

But just to cement Facebook’s much greater control of the process, the government has now changed the explanatory memorandum for the legislation to make clear what digital platforms the code covers: “This code only applies to the extent a platform is making covered news content available through those services intentionally.”

That’s why Facebook executive Campbell Brown said yesterday that the amendments allowed Facebook to “support the publishers we choose to … the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation”.

Unless Facebook intentionally makes news content available, it is not covered by the code. And you’ll have to do a deal with Facebook for it to intentionally run your content.

The rest of the world will take note that Australia has blinked — some already have.

Facebook is now nutting out deals with big media companies, with a dramatically stronger hand in negotiations than previously. The result will still be the same — whatever money is involved will simply flow to the bottom lines of media companies, rather than into public interest journalism.

But as we know, this has never had anything to do with supporting journalism, whatever lies the media companies may tell us.

Private Media, the publisher of Crikey, receives funds from Google’s News Showcase.

Source Crikey
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guy smiley
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by guy smiley »

Sensible Stephen wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:08 am
guy smiley wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:54 am Check it yourselves...

https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/f ... s_corp.pdf
So, you lied.

I’m about to go to work. Care to outline your objection civilly or just leave it hanging?
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Ellafan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

kiwigreg369 wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:43 am GS - try this - https://www.theguardian.com/technology/google.

The Guardian will appreciate the click, and it not be viewed via Facebook feed where they get no benefit.
I thought this comment was well expressed, and it's funded by Australian mining profits, paid by China, so GS/AC should agree with it:
The dominance of the five tech giants represents the same existential threat to liberal democracy that Louis Brandeis saw in the huge industrial trusts of early 19th-century America. The Silicon Valley narrative that sees democracies in the role of the guy who followed processional elephants during the Indian Raj, sweeping up their dung, is as ridiculous as it is pernicious. It is high time we called the industry’s bluff.

John Naughton chairs the advisory board of the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy at the University of Cambridge
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by MungoMan »

guy smiley wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:10 am
Sensible Stephen wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:08 am
guy smiley wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:54 am Check it yourselves...

https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/f ... s_corp.pdf
So, you lied.

I’m about to go to work. Care to outline your objection civilly or just leave it hanging?
While you’re waiting for Stephen, could you explain why you believe the document you linked demonstrates the Cwth changed the wording of the Bill in line with NewsCorp’s recommendation?

The linked doc is a sub on a draft Foreign Investment Review regulation and, to the extent it deals with the (then) Exposure Draft of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Media blah blah blah) Bill, it does so by expressing a preference for the Exposure Draft’s definition ‘core news content’. Specifically, NewsCorp’s recommendation was to incorporate that definition in the draft reg’s definition ‘Australian media business’.

The wording of definition ‘core news content’ in the Bill now before Parliament has changed since the Exposure Draft (which isn’t unusual). It hasn’t changed in line with any NewsCorp suggestion, tho’, since they never made one in the sub you linked.

Did you link the wrong doc?
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

Headshot. :lol:
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by eldanielfire »

MungoMan wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:58 am
guy smiley wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:10 am
Sensible Stephen wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:08 am
guy smiley wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:54 am Check it yourselves...

https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/f ... s_corp.pdf
So, you lied.

I’m about to go to work. Care to outline your objection civilly or just leave it hanging?
While you’re waiting for Stephen, could you explain why you believe the document you linked demonstrates the Cwth changed the wording of the Bill in line with NewsCorp’s recommendation?

The linked doc is a sub on a draft Foreign Investment Review regulation and, to the extent it deals with the (then) Exposure Draft of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Media blah blah blah) Bill, it does so by expressing a preference for the Exposure Draft’s definition ‘core news content’. Specifically, NewsCorp’s recommendation was to incorporate that definition in the draft reg’s definition ‘Australian media business’.

The wording of definition ‘core news content’ in the Bill now before Parliament has changed since the Exposure Draft (which isn’t unusual). It hasn’t changed in line with any NewsCorp suggestion, tho’, since they never made one in the sub you linked.

Did you link the wrong doc?
Ohhhhhhhhh!
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freewheelan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by freewheelan »

Here's an interesting take, and a fairly convincing one at that:
Facebook got everything it wanted out of Australia by being willing to do what the other guy wouldn’t
“One cannot be betrayed if one has no people.”
By Joshua Benton @jbenton Feb. 23, 2021, 12:16 p.m.

[Warning: Violent and gruesome metaphor ahead.]

In The Usual Suspects (1995), there’s a scene in which the true extent of ur-villain Keyser Söze’s evil is clarified for the viewer. A gang of Hungarians has burst into Söze’s home and taken his wife and children hostage. “They realized that, to be in power, you didn’t need guns or money or even numbers,” one character, Verbal Kint, narrates. “You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn’t.”

The Hungarians want Söze’s territory, and to show how serious their intentions are, one of them slices the throat of Söze’s youngest boy, to the obvious horror of his wife. The Hungarian grabs a girl and makes it clear that she’ll be next.

Söze shoots two of the Hungarians and then does the unthinkable — remember, he’s the bad guy! — and shoots his own children, one by one, and his wife. Söze tells the Hungarian “he would rather see his family dead than live another day after this.” He lets the last Hungarian go, the better to spread the legend of the villain so heartless he would murder his own family to make a point.

As Verbal puts it: “Keaton always said: ‘I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of him.’ Well, I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Söze.”1

RELATED ARTICLE
In Australia, Facebook’s ban on sharing news stories has sent publishers’ traffic tumbling
February 18, 2021
RELATED ARTICLE
Facebook will restore news sharing in Australia, at least for now
February 23, 2021
In Australia, Facebook just shot the hostages. (Metaphorically, of course.)

Australian regulators have been arguing for months that Facebook derives huge value from the news stories shared on its platform — and that, as a result, Facebook should be forced to compensate the Australian publishers who create them. As with the Hungarians above, Australia’s play can be simplified to: We have something you find incredibly valuable, and unless you give us what we want, we can destroy it.

To which Facebook, by unilaterally banning Australian news stories, responded: You have a really messed up idea of who finds what valuable here. Here, watch me shoot the hostages and show how illusory your “leverage” really is.

It took less than a week for Australia to backtrack. The mandatory arbitration that was the key to Australia’s proposed new law has been reduced to a matter of theory. Facebook can now decide to offer different publishers whatever amount it wants, including nothing at all, without risk of penalty. And Facebook retains the right to shoot more hostages whenever it likes, as Campbell Brown’s statement makes clear:

After further discussions with the Australian government, we have come to an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers. We’re restoring news on Facebook in Australia in the coming days. Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation. It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest in news globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.

The money is not and has never been the issue here. Facebook and Google are both perfectly willing to throw money at publishers to hold off regulation. (I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a petty cash drawer somewhere in Menlo Park labeled Hush Money For Publishers In Anglophone Countries (Small).) As I wrote last year (and, I daresay, it’s held up):

From the duopoly’s perspective, the biggest problem with paying for all the news coursing through their digital veins isn’t the money. (They have plenty of money.) It’s that paying for news in any systemic way would attack their core advantage as platforms: organizing other people’s content.

Say you think Google owes The New York Times money for including all of its news stories in search. Fine. Do they also owe me money for including my old blog from the early 2000s? It’s in Google’s index too. How about Breitbart? How about The Daily Stormer or Stormfront? What about your tweets? DairyQueen.com? All of them are digital content that contributes some sort of notional value to Google as a product. Maybe you think you can draw the line somewhere, but where — and how do you apply it to an index of billions of websites?

Should Facebook pay publishers based on how much value they add to News Feed? Okay — then the biggest check goes to the Daily Mail, and The Daily Wire gets as much as The New York Times.

No, any sort of systematic, performance-driven payments to publishers based on the value they offer platforms are a no-go. So Facebook and Google have responded by looking for other ways to deal with the PR headache by getting money to news companies.

RELATED ARTICLE
Google is giving $1 billion to news publishers — to help convince governments not to take a whole lot more than that
October 1, 2020
Hence the various Journalism Projects and News Initiatives of Google and Facebook, which started with innovation grants and have since grown to “Okay, we’ll pay publishers some money, fine, but only for this side product that no one really cares about, and we pick who and how much to pay.”

The tech giants have money, and they have power. They don’t mind giving up money if it gives them something in return: a friendlier regulatory environment, or silence from cranky publishers. What they don’t want to give up is the power: the power to pick winners (whether via algorithm or cash transfer), the power to decide what it’s willing to pay, and — most importantly — the power to maintain their main advantage as platforms, which is to aggregate huge amounts of free information and profit from all the ways they can organize, distribute, and monetize it all.

If there were suddenly a law that says Google has to pay for some kinds of information in its search index — or that Facebook has to pay to have some kinds of information in News Feed — that core element of their model would be at risk. Suddenly, instead of being a toll road that commuters pay to use, you have to pay drivers for the privilege of using you? That’s the unthinkable.

As Google’s Melanie Silva told Australian officials: “The concept of paying a very small group of website or content creators for appearing purely in our organic search results sets a dangerous precedent for us that presents unmanageable risk from a product and business-model point of view.”

The thing about Keyser Söze vs. the Hungarians is that there’s no side to root for. They’re both bad guys with bad intentions, so instead of some sort of moral valence, all you’re left to compare is the raw power on display by both sides.

Facebook is a corporate nightmare that has done very real and meaningful damage to democracy. Australian regulators carry water for Rupert Murdoch and have been proposing a policy that would, as Tim Berners-Lee says, make the web “unworkable.” But a bad company facing bad regulations distills down to pure power, and by shooting the hostages, Facebook made it very clear where that still lies.

Or, to put it another way: “How do you shoot the devil in the back? What if you miss?”
https://www.niemanlab.org/2021/02/faceb ... y-wouldnt/
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by grievous »

‘Government has not given up anything’: ACCC chair backs media code changes

February 24, 2021 — 5.56pm

Competition boss Rod Sims says the federal government has emerged as the victor in its battle with Facebook and Google over the news media bargaining code after weeks of high stakes negotiations about their future in Australia.

Mr Sims rejected suggestions the Morrison government had bowed to Facebook’s demands by amending the code as part of peace deal that brought the social media giant back to the negotiating table with Australian news companies.“In my strong view, the government has not given up anything that really matters to the integrity of the code,” Mr Sims said.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said the government’s amendments to the media code had not undermined its integrity.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said the government’s amendments to the media code had not undermined its integrity.CREDIT:JESSICA HROMAS
“Success here was always about, firstly, having the code passed so that it’s always there and can be used as needed. And secondly, the fact that you’ve got commercial deals being done.

“I never wanted anyone to go to arbitration, I wanted the threat of arbitration, to give bargaining muscle to the news media businesses so that they could come to a commercial deal.”

The amended code passed the Senate on Wednesday evening and will return to the House of Representatives for approval on Thursday to become law.

As chair of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Mr Sims spearheaded the drafting of the early versions of the code following an 18-month inquiry into the market dominance of Google and Facebook and the impact on the news industry.

In a breakthrough on Tuesday, Facebook agreed to reverse its blanket ban of news on its Australian platform, and began re-engaging with news businesses about commercial deals, after the government committed to making four amendments to the code. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg secured the eleventh hour deal over six phone calls with Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg across Monday and Tuesday, as the Senate prepared to vote to legislate the code.

Within hours of the agreement, Seven West Media became the first of the major media companies to announce a forthcoming deal with Facebook. Nine Entertainment Co, publisher of this masthead, and the Guardian Australia had also resumed talks with Facebook by Tuesday evening.

Outgoing Nine chief executive Hugh Marks, said Facebook’s ability to extract concessions from the government was “concerning”, although he did not regard the changes as materially altering the code. Nine is the owner of this masthead.

“The thing that we should all reflect on is that we are prepared to live in a world where a corporation can have a tantrum and that will change legislation as a result. I think that’s concerning,” Mr Marks said.

He said he was confident Nine would strike binding commercial deals with both Google and Facebook that covered payment for news, but said there was “still a bit of work to do”. Industry sources told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age last week that Nine had signed a letter of intent for a deal worth more than $30 million with Google, but the contract has not been finalised. The sources now say this figure could be closer to $45 million.

The code, which Facebook and Google fiercely protested as “unworkable”, sets out a framework for news businesses to force the tech giants to enter a binding arbitration process to seek payment for the use of their news content.

Mr Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher have described the changes, which include inserting an extra two-month period of mediation into the bargaining process, as “technical amendments” and “clarifications”.

But the most significant amendments pave the way for the tech giants to avoid the code altogether if they can satisfy the government they have struck enough commercial deals with publishers without needing to resort to forced arbitration.

Swinburne University of Technology’s Belinda Barnet, an expert in digital media, said the amendments proved that Facebook’s news ban had been a successful bargaining tactic, but ultimately the aim of the code was still being realised.

“It’s like the Treasurer has got a big stick in his hand and is saying if you don’t behave as though the code applies to you, then I will make it apply to you,” Dr Barnet said.

“In the end, if [the amendments] get media companies to the table with these platforms and negotiation payments, then that was always the aim.”


Peter Lewis, director of the Centre for Responsible Technology at the Australia Institute, a progressive think tank which supported the code, said a “helicopter view” showed the threat of the code was delivering.

“Deals are being done and money is being transferred from the advertising monopolies to media companies,” Mr Lewis said.

Australia’s efforts to regulate Google and Facebook are being closely watched in other jurisdictions, including Canada where the Trudeau government is also drafting laws to force the tech giants to compensate news publishers.

Microsoft also announced this week that it joined forces with four big European Union news industry groups to push for a similar model of revenue sharing that would “take inspiration” the Australian code.
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Ellafan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

In the Blue Corner:
freewheelan wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:37 am Here's an interesting take, and a fairly convincing one at that:

Facebook got everything it wanted out of Australia by being willing to do what the other guy wouldn’t
“One cannot be betrayed if one has no people.”
By Joshua Benton @jbenton Feb. 23, 2021, 12:16 p.m.

And in the Red Corner:
grievous wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:10 pm ‘Government has not given up anything’: ACCC chair backs media code changes

February 24, 2021 — 5.56pm

Competition boss Rod Sims says the federal government has emerged as the victor in its battle with Facebook and Google
Who is Joshua Benton? What's his reach, height, and arm speed compared to Rod Sims?

Discuss.
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Ellafan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

I'll start: Benton is a director of Nieman Foundation of Journalism. He imperiously announces that:

"It took less than a week for Australia to backtrack."

This is a very subjective assessment. You have to ask, has Benton got properly across the facts of what happened, or is just regurgitating the Facebook line? He says "The money is not and has never been the issue here". If so why are Google and Facebook in bite-mode Josh? If it's not an issue why carry on like pork chops?

Do Facebook contribute to Nieman Foundation funding? Have to ask.

Benton's contribution to this debate is almost, but not quite, as unconvincing as Guy Smiley's linking irrelevant documents ...a letter making submissions about amendments to a different regulation, which refers to an existing proposed definition of 'core news' in the Bill, as part of the submission presented (see para 15 on page 3 thereof).

This is probably a good example of why, when you copy links from shouty blogs and echo chamber discussion groups populated by tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorists, that supposedly prove your point, you really should read them yourself, before exposing them to evaluation to better educated people less emotionally invested in the subject matter.
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by towny »

kiap wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:19 pm
towny wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:04 pm Is that so? What errors in fact did I make?
Are you saying your rant was omni-perfection?

It wasn't just slapped together with balloons and doof-doof music for Mog?
Every word I wrote was 100% accurate.
But since then the Oz govt caved - FB said they’d pay off media and the govt watered down some of the more ridiculous extortion demands.

To quote Ben Thompson, “now everyone is sordid”
towny
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by towny »

freewheelan wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:37 am Here's an interesting take, and a fairly convincing one at that:
Facebook got everything it wanted out of Australia by being willing to do what the other guy wouldn’t
“One cannot be betrayed if one has no people.”
By Joshua Benton @jbenton Feb. 23, 2021, 12:16 p.m.

[Warning: Violent and gruesome metaphor ahead.]

In The Usual Suspects (1995), there’s a scene in which the true extent of ur-villain Keyser Söze’s evil is clarified for the viewer. A gang of Hungarians has burst into Söze’s home and taken his wife and children hostage. “They realized that, to be in power, you didn’t need guns or money or even numbers,” one character, Verbal Kint, narrates. “You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn’t.”

The Hungarians want Söze’s territory, and to show how serious their intentions are, one of them slices the throat of Söze’s youngest boy, to the obvious horror of his wife. The Hungarian grabs a girl and makes it clear that she’ll be next.

Söze shoots two of the Hungarians and then does the unthinkable — remember, he’s the bad guy! — and shoots his own children, one by one, and his wife. Söze tells the Hungarian “he would rather see his family dead than live another day after this.” He lets the last Hungarian go, the better to spread the legend of the villain so heartless he would murder his own family to make a point.

As Verbal puts it: “Keaton always said: ‘I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of him.’ Well, I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Söze.”1

RELATED ARTICLE
In Australia, Facebook’s ban on sharing news stories has sent publishers’ traffic tumbling
February 18, 2021
RELATED ARTICLE
Facebook will restore news sharing in Australia, at least for now
February 23, 2021
In Australia, Facebook just shot the hostages. (Metaphorically, of course.)

Australian regulators have been arguing for months that Facebook derives huge value from the news stories shared on its platform — and that, as a result, Facebook should be forced to compensate the Australian publishers who create them. As with the Hungarians above, Australia’s play can be simplified to: We have something you find incredibly valuable, and unless you give us what we want, we can destroy it.

To which Facebook, by unilaterally banning Australian news stories, responded: You have a really messed up idea of who finds what valuable here. Here, watch me shoot the hostages and show how illusory your “leverage” really is.

It took less than a week for Australia to backtrack. The mandatory arbitration that was the key to Australia’s proposed new law has been reduced to a matter of theory. Facebook can now decide to offer different publishers whatever amount it wants, including nothing at all, without risk of penalty. And Facebook retains the right to shoot more hostages whenever it likes, as Campbell Brown’s statement makes clear:

After further discussions with the Australian government, we have come to an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers. We’re restoring news on Facebook in Australia in the coming days. Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation. It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest in news globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.

The money is not and has never been the issue here. Facebook and Google are both perfectly willing to throw money at publishers to hold off regulation. (I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a petty cash drawer somewhere in Menlo Park labeled Hush Money For Publishers In Anglophone Countries (Small).) As I wrote last year (and, I daresay, it’s held up):

From the duopoly’s perspective, the biggest problem with paying for all the news coursing through their digital veins isn’t the money. (They have plenty of money.) It’s that paying for news in any systemic way would attack their core advantage as platforms: organizing other people’s content.

Say you think Google owes The New York Times money for including all of its news stories in search. Fine. Do they also owe me money for including my old blog from the early 2000s? It’s in Google’s index too. How about Breitbart? How about The Daily Stormer or Stormfront? What about your tweets? DairyQueen.com? All of them are digital content that contributes some sort of notional value to Google as a product. Maybe you think you can draw the line somewhere, but where — and how do you apply it to an index of billions of websites?

Should Facebook pay publishers based on how much value they add to News Feed? Okay — then the biggest check goes to the Daily Mail, and The Daily Wire gets as much as The New York Times.

No, any sort of systematic, performance-driven payments to publishers based on the value they offer platforms are a no-go. So Facebook and Google have responded by looking for other ways to deal with the PR headache by getting money to news companies.

RELATED ARTICLE
Google is giving $1 billion to news publishers — to help convince governments not to take a whole lot more than that
October 1, 2020
Hence the various Journalism Projects and News Initiatives of Google and Facebook, which started with innovation grants and have since grown to “Okay, we’ll pay publishers some money, fine, but only for this side product that no one really cares about, and we pick who and how much to pay.”

The tech giants have money, and they have power. They don’t mind giving up money if it gives them something in return: a friendlier regulatory environment, or silence from cranky publishers. What they don’t want to give up is the power: the power to pick winners (whether via algorithm or cash transfer), the power to decide what it’s willing to pay, and — most importantly — the power to maintain their main advantage as platforms, which is to aggregate huge amounts of free information and profit from all the ways they can organize, distribute, and monetize it all.

If there were suddenly a law that says Google has to pay for some kinds of information in its search index — or that Facebook has to pay to have some kinds of information in News Feed — that core element of their model would be at risk. Suddenly, instead of being a toll road that commuters pay to use, you have to pay drivers for the privilege of using you? That’s the unthinkable.

As Google’s Melanie Silva told Australian officials: “The concept of paying a very small group of website or content creators for appearing purely in our organic search results sets a dangerous precedent for us that presents unmanageable risk from a product and business-model point of view.”

The thing about Keyser Söze vs. the Hungarians is that there’s no side to root for. They’re both bad guys with bad intentions, so instead of some sort of moral valence, all you’re left to compare is the raw power on display by both sides.

Facebook is a corporate nightmare that has done very real and meaningful damage to democracy. Australian regulators carry water for Rupert Murdoch and have been proposing a policy that would, as Tim Berners-Lee says, make the web “unworkable.” But a bad company facing bad regulations distills down to pure power, and by shooting the hostages, Facebook made it very clear where that still lies.

Or, to put it another way: “How do you shoot the devil in the back? What if you miss?”
https://www.niemanlab.org/2021/02/faceb ... y-wouldnt/
One of the only articles in this entire thread that’s written by someone with a clue.
towny
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by towny »

Ellafan wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:16 pm I'll start: Benton is a director of Nieman Foundation of Journalism. He imperiously announces that:

"It took less than a week for Australia to backtrack."

This is a very subjective assessment. You have to ask, has Benton got properly across the facts of what happened, or is just regurgitating the Facebook line? He says "The money is not and has never been the issue here". If so why are Google and Facebook in bite-mode Josh? If it's not an issue why carry on like pork chops?

Do Facebook contribute to Nieman Foundation funding? Have to ask.

Benton's contribution to this debate is almost, but not quite, as unconvincing as Guy Smiley's linking irrelevant documents ...a letter making submissions about amendments to a different regulation, which refers to an existing proposed definition of 'core news' in the Bill, as part of the submission presented (see para 15 on page 3 thereof).

This is probably a good example of why, when you copy links from shouty blogs and echo chamber discussion groups populated by tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorists, that supposedly prove your point, you really should read them yourself, before exposing them to evaluation to better educated people less emotionally invested in the subject matter.
The government folded like a cheap suit as soon as fb flexed their muscle AND decided to pay a bribe, which was what this was all about.

From Bloomberg:
Facebook Inc. backed down from its news blackout in Australia after the government agreed to amend world-first legislation forcing the tech giant and Google to pay local publishers for content. The social-media platform switched off news sharing in Australia last week in opposition to the proposed law, and Mark Zuckerberg and government officials have been locked in talks to find a compromise. Among key concessions, the government said Tuesday it would take into account commercial deals Google and Facebook reach with news companies before deciding whether they are subject to the law, and would also give them one month’s notice. The platforms also won more time to strike deals with publishers before they’re forced into final-offer arbitration as a last resort.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... oming-days

From Stratechery:
In short, Facebook forced the government to make explicit the implicit quid pro quo I wrote about last Thursday:

The Australian government effectively threatened Google that it would impose completely unacceptable conditions on their product unless they paid up; Google has now paid up, and so the government is satisfied. Never mind that the pay-up didn’t go to the taxpayers of Australia; Rupert Murdoch is happy, so everyone is happy.

Secondly, Facebook retained the right to block all news in the future; the government has to give the company 30 days notice before it imposes those (still!) unacceptable conditions on its product, at which time Facebook can block all news and won’t be held liable if a few links sneak through.

Facebook also secured concessions in terms of being able to offer different deals to different publishers, and to have mediation before arbitration, but clearly the company is prepared to pay up, just on their terms — and with the right to walk away, if publishers get too greedy. In other words, just as you might expect from an incumbent, Facebook is willing to pay off whoever needs paying off as long as their core business is left alone.

So now everyone is sordid.
Long story short: Sluggy, that dude you quoted was 100% correct.
towny
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by towny »

What’s the end result?
- the Oz tax payer got nothing
- Murdoch got paid off
- Media realises they shouldn’t demand things off a company that already gives them free stuff that is vital for their survival
- ScoMo and Josh get to push a law through parliament that is already redundant (Fb and Google aren’t apparently beholden to it because they paid some extortion money)


This embarrassing waste of time is Australian politics in a nutshell.
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Ellafan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

towny wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:58 pm

Every word I wrote was 100% accurate.
But since then the Oz govt caved - FB said they’d pay off media and the govt watered down some of the more ridiculous extortion demands.
Even if that was accurate - which it is not - it is not a "cave" it is the process of negotiation at work.

Your posts in this thread have been piss poor Towny. 1/10WNB.
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Ellafan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

towny wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:16 pm ....
the government said Tuesday it would take into account commercial deals Google and Facebook reach with news companies before deciding whether they are subject to the law, and would also give them one month’s notice
Which means they pay up for stealing IP. Within about 5 weeks.

Do you read what you post before you put it up here, or are you just visiting the same tinfoil hat conspiracy sites as GS and spamming multiple chat forums?
towny
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by towny »

Ellafan wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:27 pm
towny wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:58 pm

Every word I wrote was 100% accurate.
But since then the Oz govt caved - FB said they’d pay off media and the govt watered down some of the more ridiculous extortion demands.
Even if that was accurate - which it is not - it is not a "cave" it is the process of negotiation at work.

Your posts in this thread have been piss poor Towny. 1/10WNB.
You are correct. The government had Facebook and Google pay bribes to the media companies with failing business models.

This is what this was all about from the beginning. The internet changed everything and the old media wanted compensation, so they chose the two biggest internet companies as proxies. It’s a shame the government didn’t get Ford and GM to pay the blacksmiths as they might be still around.

You’re a smart guy. I mean that.

Your understanding of the issues at play here aren’t good. You’ve parroted moronic politicians and haven’t shown the ability to reflect on alternate (real/actual/honest) evidence. You’re not on your own. Other smart posters have been way off the pace on this issue. I’ve posted the opinions of serious, highly considered experts who don’t have a dog in this fight, and you’ve barely acknowledged them - preferring to quote whatever ScoMo or some biased, compromised Oz journo stooge proposed. I’ve said I’ll share great posts from experts but you weren’t interested. These people are lying through their teeth and you’re smart enough to realise this but you seem hellbent on avoiding credible subject matter experts. I’m genuinely disappointed.

I can’t see how anyone can credibly claim anything other than that once FB and Google paid off News Corp and a couple of others, the government claimed victory and watered down the legislation to such an extent its now meaningless. I can support this claim with numerous quotes from the best analysts in the industry. But I’m sure you’d rather quote Josh or some stooge from Fairfax who’s job was on the line. Don’t even get me started on the bullshit that comes out of the NYT either.

Finally, my posts have been rock solid from the outset. Piss poor? Then why have you scurried away when I’ve landed my truth bombs? My comprehension of the facts is imperious in this thread. Fact! This isn’t because I’m necessarily smarter than you guys, but because I spend a lot of time reading this stuff and don’t depend on what Murdoch’s puppets say is going down.

As they sat, in the land on the blind the one-eyed man is king.

Hail to the king, baby.
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by towny »

:proud:
Ellafan wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:37 pm
towny wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:16 pm ....
the government said Tuesday it would take into account commercial deals Google and Facebook reach with news companies before deciding whether they are subject to the law, and would also give them one month’s notice
Which means they pay up for stealing IP. Within about 5 weeks.

Do you read what you post before you put it up here, or are you just visiting the same tinfoil hat conspiracy sites as GS and spamming multiple chat forums?
Do you read the rest of my post or just the one sentence in the middle? Why don’t you call out what’s wrong with anything I’ve posted? That way I can destroy your opinion quickly. Come on - let’s get it over with. You’re boring me.

And what IP is Facebook stealing? The news sites willingly post their content on Facebook in order to get $400m worth of traffic
What IP is being stolen and by whom?
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by towny »

Lastly.....

I posted a link to Bloomberg before. To read the article you need to visit Bloomberg, which is good for them. They want this.

Should Bloomberg invoice Planet Rugby for stealing their content? I think that’s what you guys are saying should happen.

Now what if Bloomberg started linking their own stories here and demanding PR pay them for stealing their content? That’s what you guys think is fair, right? Is that your opinion?

Of course, this isn’t fair. What if the govt said that this was the law and the price was whatever Bloomberg said it was?
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by mabunch78 »

I think it's actually healthy that these concepts are now getting defined precisely in law. I saw someone, presumably on the FB side, arguing that a car maker shouldn't be charged for installing a radio receiver for the consumption of broadcast content. That's slightly disingenuous because the car doesn't perform the role of explicit revenue vehicle (pardon the pun) for the car maker following purchase and besides, the radio in the car is a passive receiver for private consumption. If it were used to broadcast publicly rather than privately, then the law around its use changes. And that's where social media is for me. It broadcasts publicly and its business model relies on content producers, of which 'print' media is one. But it gets problematic when you compare content producers who use social media as a platform.

Individual content producers have more to gain from social media interaction than corporations and more to lose if friction is added. Corporations gain some traction for their own web platform but perhaps their argument is that this is not enough to pay for maintaining that platform. But without it their brand prestige would be severely dampened...though presumably this value is reducing all the time, changing the equation.

Apologies, I've not done the background reading. Is the media argument that content hosted directly by or accessed only through the FB platform should pay royalties - a slice of the associated FB page/entry revenue stream, whatever that is? If so, I have sympathy with that view.
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kiap
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by kiap »

towny wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:36 pm what if Bloomberg started linking their own stories here and demanding PR pay them for stealing their content? That’s what you guys think is fair, right? Is that your opinion?
If PR was a corporation that extracted circa four billion in the local market over the last four years then yes, they need to be tapped, in my opinion.

The law, such as it will be, only applies at certain scale. A simple, yet important concept.

You're not one of these blokes that thinks that canny home economics is useful at the reserve bank, right? Or that Planck's law applies at atomic scale?

Of course not.

Different game, different rules for these market-dominating platforms.
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Ellafan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

towny wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:19 pm
towny wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:21 pm
towny wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:36 pm Lastly.....

TLDR
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Rowdy
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Rowdy »

It sometimes seems to me that we are approaching Rollerball, where the corporations control everything while the plebs (us) amuse ourselves to death.
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terangi48
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by terangi48 »

Good to see FB having to shell out some funds.......would prefer it to be Taxed on the business that it does in Australia.

Someone quite rightly above has pointed out the person who profits is Murdoch....who certainly wont be paying out any non-Murdoch produced News stories from his Facebook/Google windfall, .....

Agree with another writer from above: Doesn't News Service Australia benefit from a wider circulation and zero payment to Facebook/Google?

When sourcing news, I rarely use either giant.....preferring to go to directly to a news website based in the country where the story occurred.

However, I am often locked out of the stories these days because of premium stories guarded by the subscriptions required to have access.......so keep searching for another site.....
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Sensible Stephen
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Sensible Stephen »

terangi48 wrote: Fri Feb 26, 2021 3:11 am Good to see FB having to shell out some funds.......would prefer it to be Taxed on the business that it does in Australia.

Someone quite rightly above has pointed out the person who profits is Murdoch....who certainly wont be paying out any non-Murdoch produced News stories from his Facebook/Google windfall, .....

Agree with another writer from above: Doesn't News Service Australia benefit from a wider circulation and zero payment to Facebook/Google?

When sourcing news, I rarely use either giant.....preferring to go to directly to a news website based in the country where the story occurred.

However, I am often locked out of the stories these days because of premium stories guarded by the subscriptions required to have access.......so keep searching for another site.....
Yeah, damn them for having paywalls and no giving me my news for free.
grievous
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by grievous »

FB currently playing Lord and master in Myanmar by deciding what news gets in and out(government is controlling local news with censorship), forget which side they are on (today I think its the "people") but do we really want a manchild having this much influence in countries around the world? The same outfit that let the NZ massacre play out live.They were good at family and cute doggy pics, just get back to that.
I think the Winklevoss twins should be running it.
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Clogs
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Clogs »

So, who won? Apart from towny?
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by The Optimist »

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Slim 293
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Slim 293 »

The Optimist wrote: Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:37 am The Liberal Govt Fvckwittery
Yep, pretty much this... :nod:
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Ellafan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

At some point, the cacophony in lefty echo chambers such as this thread will die down, and you lot will wake up to yourselves and see that this was not about Murdoch or any other traditional medium (correct spelling) organisation. It was about the law, in particular IP law, catching up with big internet tech who have been using other peoples' IP to make billions out of other peoples content (and a bit of clever coding) for years.

The sooner the US Justice Department launch antitrust suits against google and facebook, the better for all of us. Good on the Oz parliament for pushing this, as a bilateral issue. We didn't exactly put the ball in the scrum (France did), but we by all ccounts are generating some momentum that will correct the monopoly/cartel influence of the big 5 tech giants. :thumbup:
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Slim 293
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Slim 293 »

Ellafan wrote: Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:48 pm It was about the law, in particular IP law, catching up with big internet tech who have been using other peoples' IP to make billions out of other peoples content (and a bit of clever coding) for years.

You keep repeating this, and yet...

Anyways, I'm sure Morrison and co will continue to make a lot of noise about this to distract from another rape case involving one of his cabinet ministers. :thumbup:
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Ellafan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

Slim 293 wrote: Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:53 pm
Ellafan wrote: Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:48 pm It was about the law, in particular IP law, catching up with big internet tech who have been using other peoples' IP to make billions out of other peoples content (and a bit of clever coding) for years.

You keep repeating this, and yet...

Anyways, I'm sure Morrison and co will continue to make a lot of noise about this to distract from another rape case involving one of his cabinet ministers. :thumbup:
The labour party supported it. It's been in the works for months. Your attempts to manufacture some sort of domestic political flavour that somehow devalues it, which seem to emanate from your subjective ideological beliefs that reject capitalism (despite it providing the high consumption lifestyle that you as a member of a first world country enjoy) are pathetic.
Flyin Ryan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Flyin Ryan »

So the Libertarian Party of Indiana's political director shared this anecdote on his Facebook page:
A friend of mine that has a long running terrestrial radio show has had links to her page, website, and show blocked as part of the restriction on Australian news sharing on Facebook. But...it's a U.S. show, website, and page. She hasn't even shared or talked about an Australian topic since the countrywide fire (and even then it was commentary and not links to Australian news sources).

I put in a request to fix and today they did...kind of. "In response to Australian legislation, Facebook temporarily restricted sharing news content, including posting to you page. We've restored the ability to post news while we continue to work with the industry to find the best ways to support news publications."

So somewhere in Facebook databases she is still listed as being an Australian news source and when this happens again links to her website and show will be blocked.

The whole situation is ridiculous.
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Ellafan
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by Ellafan »

the Libertarian Party of Indiana

Sound like my sort of automatic weapons group. Do they allow black people?
towny
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Re: the Aus news ban on Facebook

Post by towny »

kiap wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:27 am
towny wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:36 pm what if Bloomberg started linking their own stories here and demanding PR pay them for stealing their content? That’s what you guys think is fair, right? Is that your opinion?
If PR was a corporation that extracted circa four billion in the local market over the last four years then yes, they need to be tapped, in my opinion.

The law, such as it will be, only applies at certain scale. A simple, yet important concept.

You're not one of these blokes that thinks that canny home economics is useful at the reserve bank, right? Or that Planck's law applies at atomic scale?

Of course not.

Different game, different rules for these market-dominating platforms.
You are trying very hard to remain ignorant and not address the actual point.
The bloke from Crikey almost gets it - probably after he realised he’s not getting his nose in the trough.

The long history of media policy in Australia is of governments looking after the big media proprietors at the expense of Australians. And the passage of the “news media bargaining code” this week is another iteration of that history. In fact, it’s up there with the greatest rorts ever perpetrated by Australia’s media companies.
New media technologies have always been the bane of media proprietors. Radio and then television disrupted newspapers. Subscription TV disrupted television. Digital transmission disrupted both. The internet, of course, disrupted everything.
And at every stage, media incumbents convinced politicians to allow them to control or restrict competition. Newspaper owners were allowed to snap up radio licences and then television licences. Subscription TV wasn’t allowed for decades and then heavily restricted. Digital broadcasting was heavily restricted, with incumbent broadcasters gifted vast amounts of free spectrum. Briefly, the Howard government even proposed to regulate the internet as a broadcasting service.

At no stage were the interests of audiences even remotely a factor in policy deliberations. The only role that audiences or the public interest played in those deliberations was that politicians and bureaucrats had to invent absurd justifications to pretend that the restrictions would benefit consumers. Thus, for example, the risible fantasy of “datacasting”, now long forgotten, once the centrepiece of new media policy.
I should know. I worked on media policy and watched, and helped devise, such justifications.
The only communications minister to try to address the public interest was Stephen Conroy and his ill-fated media regulatory changes in 2013, which dared to require newspapers to live up to their claims of self-regulation and established a public interest test for mergers. The only politician to successfully secure a public interest outcome is Nick Xenophon, who forced the government to cough up for a regional and small publishers content fund in 2017. The effort utterly exhausted him.
Then Google and Facebook came along and, while not offering media content at all, wrecked the analog-era advertising model relied on by traditional media. Media companies themselves had already managed the same result for real estate advertising, which now sat on their books as separate, highly profitable companies that made investors wonder why on earth they were still attached to loss-making media businesses.

Traditionally the media industry has been riven by conflict. For two decades, the incumbent free-to-air broadcasters bitterly fought efforts by News Corp to offer a successful pay TV service. Sometimes the TV owners squabbled among themselves. But Josh Frydenberg’s extortion of Google and Facebook, based on the debunked lie of “content theft”, had the full-throated support of every mainstream media company — even recent arrival Guardian Australia. But then that’s unsurprising, given the role News Corp and Nine actually played in drafting it.
Once again, the interests of consumers were completely ignored. Indeed, what is unusual about Frydenberg’s news media bargaining code is that, rather than offer absurd justifications about public benefit, it explicitly has nothing to do with public interest journalism, or journalism full stop. “There is no requirement that the content be produced by a journalist,” the explanatory memorandum makes clear in defining what content is covered by the code, reflecting the wishes of News Corp and Nine.
And there is no requirement that a single cent of the money secured from tech companies be directed toward journalism by News Corp, Nine, Seven, Guardian Australia or any other big media beneficiaries.
Such a requirement would have been trivially easy to add to the bargaining code legislation. During the media ownership changes by the Howard government in 2006, I spent considerable time crafting local news, presence and content requirements for regional broadcasters for then communications minister Helen Coonan so that the Nationals could claim to be looking after the bush. Legislating content and resource requirements on media companies is clunky, but it can be done.
But you can guess how media companies would feel about any diktat from the government about how they spend the tens of millions (though not the forecast billions) they will obtain from the tech giants.
The ultimate effect is to entrench the power of a small group of mainstream media companies while small and regional companies continue to struggle.
And as the media companies have gone, so have their editors, producers and journalists, who have fallen into line to support the code, attack the tech giants and misrepresent the whole racket as in the public interest. There’s been virtually no dissent in the mainstream media. In previous decades, when there were divisions in the media, at least some voices would be raised in criticism. News Corp gave John Howard, or “Mr Wishy Washy” as they labelled him, an absolute flogging for caving into the Packers on digital television.
But this time around, with mainstream media unanimity, there’s been no criticism, only journalists lining up to mislead their audiences and readers.
Strange that they should wonder why commercial media isn’t trusted and their readerships and viewerships have been in such catastrophic decline.
He’s half right. He nailed the corruption angle - this shakedown was always just for the big end of town, but he should have seen that in the first draft of the regulations 6 or whatever months ago.

But he hasn’t yet seemed to understand that the problem is with his business model - the internet has destroyed and he’s not willing or able to adapt.
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