Facebook Inc. blocked news sharing on its Australian platform early Thursday as legal standoff escalated over a proposed law, according to Bloomberg. The proposed regulation forces the company and Google to pay Australian publishers for news content.

  • Several Facebook pages, including sites of some politicians, charities, and emergency services departments, were disabled.
  • Facebook’s decision is an unprecedented show of force that sends a warning to regulators worldwide.
  • The social media giant fears that Australian law could set a precedent for global regulators
  • Facebook argues that publishers willingly post news to its site, which helps them reach a wider audience.
  • Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has slammed Facebook’s move to cut off news, saying it has undermined access to credible information.
  • Google also opposed the Australian law and has threatened to shut its search engine if the legislation proceeds in its current form. 
  • Google has negotiated with several media companies, hoping to avoid the arbitration process enforced by the law.
  • It is not clear whether Facebook’s restriction is permanent and if its muscular response to the proposed legislation will succeed on the global stage.

Facebook stock is currently declining. FB: NASDAQ is down 0.76% on premarket.