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.
Frydenberg appeared on the local TV program “Today,” on Friday morning, Australia time, and insisted the government was not going to tolerate Facebook’s “unnecessary” and “wrong” attempts to bully Australia into submission.
“He endangered public safety,” Frydenberg said of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “In the middle of a pandemic, people weren’t able to get access to information about the vaccines.”
Facebook started blocking all news content for Australian users on Thursday in retaliation for the government’s plan to implement a new law that would force large tech companies to pay news publishers for linking to their content. Google previously threatened to block all searches in Australia over the law but has since signed agreements with several large Australian publishers.