U.S. sees Facebook dispute as a matter between companies and Australia -State Dept

Business

The United States considers Australia’s dispute with Facebook Inc a business negotiation between private companies and the Australian government, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

U.S. ally Australia is locked in a pitched battle with Facebook. The U.S.-based social media giant blocked news feeds and other pages – including those of charities, and health and emergency services – as part of a dispute over a proposed law that would require Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay news outlets whose links drive traffic to their platforms, or agree on a price through arbitration.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed on Friday to press ahead with the law, saying he had received support from world leaders.

Asked at a news briefing whether that included support from the United States, State Department spokesman Ned Price told a regular news briefing, “This is a business negotiation between multiple private companies and the Australian government. Any questions on the status and implications of private business decisions should be directed towards those companies.”