Australia’s ABC News Tops App Store Charts After Facebook’s News Blackout

It appears that Australian users are going straight to the source for their fill of local news as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation‘s ABC News app tops App Store charts in Australia after Facebook imposed a platform-wide ban in the country on any and all links to news sources  (via The Verge).

ABC News was all over the situation as soon as the ban took effect, using the opportunity to drive users towards its app through banners and advertisements on its home page and elsewhere.

After a brief stint at number one in overall app rankings on the Australian App Store (ahead of every member of the Facebook family of apps), ABS News currently sits comfortably at No. 2 in overall app rankings, and No. 1 in news apps.

Facebook implemented the news blackout on Australia in an attempt to deter lawmakers from ratifying the News Media Bargaining Code — a comprehensive law that will require tech companies to pay Australian publications for the content that’s shared on their platforms and generates ad revenue.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted 9 months ago that forcing tech companies to share revenue with media outlets amidst the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t a priority.

However, since then, Canadian lawmakers have continuously expressed their support for Australia’s approach to the whole ordeal, and media groups have lobbied for similar laws to be established in Canada.

Following the news blackout in Australia, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault vowed on Thursday that Canada would be the next country to tackle the “schoolyard bully” and make sure that Facebook paid media outlets in the country for their content.

In stellar Facebook fashion, the ban did more damage than it was supposed to — due to a less-than-perfect filter, posts from and links to government organizations, local law enforcement (like Australian firefighters), and even some of Facebook’s own services were affected.

It’s safe to say that Google, which is currently in the same boat as Facebook, has a much sturdier handle on the situation.

Despite the fact that the new regulations may put services like YouTube and Google News at risk in Australia, Google has already announced a licensing program designed to pay publishers for the content Google uses and partnered with three of the largest media outlets in Australia.

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