Australian politicians blast Facebook for blocking news sites

The move was swiftly criticized by news producers, politicians and human rights advocates, particularly as it became clear that official health pages, emergency safety warnings and welfare networks had all been scrubbed from the site along with news.

"Facebook was wrong, Facebook's actions were unnecessary, they were heavy-handed, and they will damage its reputation here in Australia," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told a televised news conference.

Frydenberg said Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg gave no warning of the news shutdown when the pair spoke over the weekend about looming laws that will force both Facebook and search engine giant Google to pay local publishers for content.

The two men had a subsequent conversation on Thursday morning which was "constructive," Frydenberg said, adding they discussed what he called "differing interpretations" about how the new Media Bargaining Code would work.