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Why is that news? Because our Belize government communicates with us through Facebook and Instagram. Just a few articles:

Facebook 'unfriends' Australia: global uproar as news pages go dark

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Facebook faced a worldwide backlash from publishers and politicians on Thursday after blocking news feeds in Australia in a surprise escalation of a dispute with the government over a law to require it to share revenue from news.

Facebook wiped out pages from Australian state governments and charities as well as from domestic and international news organisations, three days before the launch of a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Facebook news ban hits emergency services and government health departments

Dozens of major health, corporate, sporting and charity Facebook pages have been blocked after being caught up in the social media giant's decision to ban news publishers in response to the Morrison government's proposed media bargaining laws.

The Queensland, South Australian and ACT Health Facebook pages were wiped, leaving Facebook users without access to local health information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook is 'schoolyard bully' in Australia news row, says UK media boss

Facebook's move to block all media content in Australia shows why countries need robust regulation to stop tech firms behaving like a "schoolyard bully", the head of the UK's news media trade group has said.

Henry Faure Walker, the chair of the News Media Association, said Facebook's ban during a pandemic was "a classic example of a monopoly power being the schoolyard bully, trying to protect its dominant position with scant regard for the citizens and customers it supposedly serves".

'Delete the app': Former Facebook CEO unloads on the media giant's 'sad' decision to block news in Australia - and says Mark Zuckerberg is all about 'the money and the power'

The former CEO of Facebook has slammed Mark Zuckerberg's 'sad' decision to block news in Australia, while encouraging Aussies to delete the app out of protest.

The US social media giant has infuriated Australians after blocking them from reading and sharing local news in response to a world-first law to make tech giants pay media companies for the content they use.

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Australia the day after Facebook pulled the plug:

Facebook has endangered public safety by blocking news on the platform in Australia during the covid-19 pandemic, according to Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg a high-ranking official in the country's ruling Liberal Party.

The Guardian:
It's hard to think of a better way for a platform to anger a nation and destroy what's left of its own reputation than to block health and hospital sites in a pandemic, emergency service sites in a state that recently battled bushfires and the sites of innumerable welfare groups, charities and community organisations, all in a bid to avoid making payments under a new media bargaining code that aims to address the power imbalance between media companies and the big tech platforms.

Associated Press:

"Zuckerberg's flex here shows how he can disrupt global access to the news in a heartbeat," said Jennifer Grygiel, a social media expert and professor at Syracuse University. "No company should have this much influence over access to journalism."

David Cicilline, a Democratic congressman from Rhode Island:
If it is not already clear, Facebook is not compatible with democracy.
Threatening to bring an entire country to its knees to agree to Facebook's terms is the ultimate admission of monopoly power.

Meanwhile in the Daily Mail:

WhatsApp pushes ahead with change that will allow Facebook to access data

WhatsApp said on Thursday it will go ahead with its controversial privacy policy update but will allow users to read it at 'their own pace' and will also display a banner providing additional information.

In January, the messaging platform informed users it was preparing a new privacy policy, under which it could share limited user data with Facebook and its group firms.

It sparked a global outcry and sent users to rival apps Telegram and Signal, among others, prompting WhatsApp to delay the new policy launch to May and to clarify the update was focused on allowing users to message with businesses and would not affect personal conversations.

In India, the messaging app's biggest user base, Facebook executives fielded questions from a parliamentary panel on the need for the changes, days after the country's technology ministry asked the messaging platform to withdraw them.

In its latest blog, WhatsApp said it will start reminding users to review and accept updates to keep using the messaging platform.

'We've also included more information to try and address concerns we're hearing,' it added.

WhatsApp's announcement comes as parent Facebook moved to block all news content in Australia on Thursday, facing backlash from publishers and politicians, prompting a senior British lawmaker to label the move as an attempt to bully a democracy.

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Australia Passes Law Forcing Facebook, Google to Pay for News

Australia's parliament passed a world-first law to force digital giants such as Facebook Inc. and Google to pay local publishers for news content -- a move that may unleash more global regulatory action to limit their power.

The legislation was passed Thursday and will ensure "news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.

"The code is a significant microeconomic reform, one that has drawn the eyes of the world on the Australian parliament," he said.

Regulators around the world have been closely watching the legislation as they grapple with the advertising dominance of Facebook and Google, who now face the prospect of similar measures cascading around the world. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he's discussed the new law with the leaders of India, Canada, France and the U.K.

The U.S. technology giants negotiated hard with the Australian government to extract concessions.

Alphabet Inc.-owned Google last year said it would shut down its search engine in Australia if the law was enacted. Meanwhile Facebook blocked news on its Australian platform in opposition to the legislation, a dramatic move that drew condemnation from Morrison.

After 11th-hour talks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the government agreed to amend the legislation and the social-media platform said it would switch the news back on.

Among key concessions, the government said 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 reach deals with media publishers before they're forced into final-offer arbitration as a last resort.

Google has independently struck deals to pay a string Australian publishers for news, including News Corp. and Facebook is doing the same.

Frydenberg said the "government is pleased to see progress by both Google and more recently Facebook in reaching commercial arrangements with Australian news media businesses."

The new law will be reviewed by Treasury within one year to ensure it is working as intended.

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Australia cannot force Facebook to offer services in Australia.
Facebook can leave, which is what it did.
Australia revised the law to Facebook's liking.

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