Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said social media companies are arrogant and irresponsible for not making news a priority on their platforms. The comments come as Meta’s dispute with Australia’s government over its call for social media companies to pay local media organisations for content.

Under Australia’s news media bargaining code, introduced in 2021, Meta could be required to enter discussions of payment with news organisations or face fines of 10% of its domestic revenue, according to Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones. 

However, when asked if the company would ban news from its platforms if the government enforced the code on Friday (28 June), Meta’s regional policy director Mia Garlick said that “all options were on the table”.

Albanese said social media companies had a “responsibility to keep news on their platforms,” at a media conference on Saturday (29 June).

“The arrogance that’s been shown by these international social media companies is not aligned with the social responsibility that they have,” the PM added. 

Meta entered deals with some Australian news organisations in 2021 but confirmed earlier this year it would not be renewing them.

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Two media companies, Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media, said the ending of the deals was partly to blame for its decision to cut jobs.

In 2023, Facebook said it would remove news from its platform in Canada as the country passed its Online News Act (C-18).

The act forces social media giants like Meta and Google to negotiate commercial deals with news publishers to provide their content. 

Big tech has strongly opposed this law, with Meta claiming that “news outlets voluntarily share content on Facebook and Instagram to expand their audiences and help their bottom line”.

Rachel Curran, Meta’s head of public policy in Canada, said that users on Facebook and Instagram “don’t come to us for news.”