Prime Minister Anthony Albanese slams tech giant Meta

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has accused tech behemoth Meta of being an example of gross arrogance.

Executives from the company, which owns Facebook and Instagram as well as messaging platform WhatsApp, appeared before a parliamentary inquiry in Canberra.

“I don’t think social media has done harm to our children,” Meta’s vice-president and global head of safety, Antigone Davis, told the committee.

“I think that issues of teen mental health are complex and multi factorial.”

Meta was grilled on its commitment to Australian journalism, months after the company announced it would not renew commercial deals with media outlets.

The deals came about as a result of the former government’s introduction of the news media bargaining code, which was designed to force tech companies to pay for the benefit they derive from having Australian news content on their platforms.

Meta’s regional director of policy, Mia Garlick, said “all options were on the table” when asked whether it would block all Australian news content.

The suggestion was that the company could avoid the need to pay for such content by preventing it from being posted on its platforms.

PM Albanese said Meta had a “responsibility” to keep news available.

“We think that the arrogance that’s been shown by these international social media companies is not aligned with the social responsibility that they have,” he said.

“For many Australians, they get their news from these social media organisations.

“And they should have a responsibility to pay for that news, to pay for that journalism that’s so important.

“They have a social responsibility in social media, they should recognise that, and they should fulfil the commitments that they had previously given.”