Australia trying to 'stick it' to tech: US analyst

An American tech analyst told Reuters that Australia's standoff with Facebook and Google has become more about fighting big tech, rather than reimagining journalism.

Australia is pushing ahead with a law that will force Facebook and Google to pay news outlets for content.

Early Thursday, Facebook responded with a blackout blocking news pages and more on Australian users' Facebook feeds.

Eric Goldman is the Associate Dean for Research at Santa Clara University Law School and he says this standoff won't help answer a bigger question, how do you keep struggling sources of news alive?

"I don't think this kerfuffle is going to cause people to rethink how we fund journalism. I fear it comes down to the idea that so many people are skeptical of the power and money that are in the hands of Google and Facebook, and they will look at this simply as a way to stick it to them."

Goldman says the debate needs to consider the social impact of placing news content online.

"So long as this becomes a battle over the power and money in the hands of Internet companies, it obscures the really important social questions that we have. What information is being produced, who's producing it, what incentives do they need, and how is that helping us stay safe and make good political choices at the ballot?"

It's uncertain what will come of talks between Australia's government and big tech, but as of Friday morning, it wasn't just news sites scrubbed from the social network's local feeds.

Several charity, nonprofit and even neighborhood Facebook groups remained dark.