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IN SURPRISE MOVE, FACEBOOK BLOCKS NEWS ACCESS IN AUSTRALIA

In a surprise retaliatory move Thursday, Facebook blocked Australians from sharing news stories, escalating a fight with the government over whether powerful tech companies should have to pay news organizations for content.

Australia’s government condemned the step, which also blocked some government communications, including messages about emergency services, and some commercial pages.

The digital platforms fear that what’s happening in Australia will become an expensive precedent for other countries as governments revamp laws to catch up with the fast changing digital world.

Facebook acted after the House of Representatives passed legislation that

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