It had not even been 24 hours since Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had played the India card. He tweeted about the discussion of the media platform bill between him and his Indian counterpart Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and lo and behold Facebook came scurrying back to the negotiating table.
Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Morrison apparently had a talk discussing several common challenges, brief details of which were shared on Twitter by the Australian Prime Minister. And Facebook got the message that it has to mend its ways or its actions could result in a possible Facebook hara-kiri.
Morrison, at a news conference in Sydney, said, “The company has tentatively friended us again. What I’m pleased about it that Facebook is back at the table again.”
Apart from direct negotiations with Facebook, the Morrison government had also delivered a threat to the tech giant by tweeting about a call between the two heads of states.
Morrison had tweeted, “Great to talk to my good friend PM @narendramodi again. As Comprehensive Strategic Partners, we can work together on common challenges incl #COVID19, the circular economy, oceans & an open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We also discussed progress of our media platform bill.”
Great to talk to my good friend PM @narendramodi again. As Comprehensive Strategic Partners, we can work together on common challenges incl #COVID19, the circular economy, oceans & an open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We also discussed progress of our media platform bill. https://t.co/fjAeLecCYA
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) February 19, 2021
Facebook had suspended news outlets and government websites and even some Australian government-backed accounts, from its platform. This had caused widespread anger among the masses and governments all over the world.
The standoff comes as Australia has vowed to press forward with its media platform bill which would make it compulsory for Google and Facebook to pay for the news they share on their website.
The Australian legislation will require Google’s Facebook and Alphabet Inc. to enter into commercial agreements with Australian publishers or face compulsory arbitration. The lower house of parliament has cleared the bill and the Senate is scheduled to approve it within the next week.
On the other hand, India has taken an even harsher stand on the Big Tech and has made an example out of Twitter. Moreover, a horde of Indian indigenous social media platforms have taken the market by storm.
The Indian government nailed Twitter when it blocked the Indian Home Minister’s account and misrepresented the Indian map. Moreover, the Twitter Policy head in India was made to quit as Twitter failed to follow the guidelines set out by the Indian government to block some accounts which were inciting violence during the ongoing farmer’s protest.
The newly launched Indian apps have gained serious traction. Millions of users are migrating to these new Indian apps, the biggest among them being Koo, which has become a sensation in India with millions flocking in within weeks, and will leave an everlasting impact on Twitter and Facebook among others.
Morrison government’s subtle threat to Facebook by including the media platform bill into his talks with the Indian PM would have sent alarm bells ringing in the Facebook headquarters. The crackdown on Twitter was noted around the world and Twitter was forced to adhere to the instructions of the Indian government. Facebook might have anticipated a similar crackdown, one which it cannot afford, especially at a time it is facing some serious flak in Australia.