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UPDATED: Facebook Snubs Australian Users With News Restrictions

Facebook who has become more political than transparent has chosen to restrict their Australian users from sharing local and International news because they did not get their own way with the Federal Morrison Government.

Facebook who openly propped up the Democrats recent campaign in the USA to the extent that they became a PR machine for now President Joe Biden, have admitted that they will restrict publishers and people from sharing local and international news in a direct response to the News Media Bargaining Code.

Content on Facebook pages from news websites such as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, News Corp newspapers such as The Australian and The Herald Sun and all ABC content were made unavailable to users from early Thursday. Articles published by online youth publication Junkee Media and satirical news websites The Betoota Advocate and The Chaser were also removed. Some Facebook groups run by news outlets have no articles on them.

Their decision was revealed in a Blog early this morning by the company’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, Will Easton.

Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher says Facebook’s decision to stop Australian publishers and users from sharing or viewing news content sends a strong message about the social media networks credibility.

The social media giant’s move comes as News Corp struck a global deal with Google and the federal government’s media bargaining code legislation passed the House of Representatives last night.

The Australian Financial Review described Facebooks actions as ‘sacrificing Australian truth for global dollars’.

Facebook who are well known for peddling fake news has also been slammed for their syndication of false information relating to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Eaton wrote “The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”

Australian users, are now unable to post links to Australian news articles on their Facebook pages or to see past articles posted by major media companies.

Easton’s blog said that not only are Australian outlets restricted from sharing content on Facebook Pages but international articles from newspapers such as The Wall Street journal and The New York Times cannot be viewed or reposted by Australian users.

Several Australian emergency services including Fire and Rescue NSW have also been impacted with theircontent wiped, while Stopping Family Violence, 1800 RESPECT and Mission Australia along with Harvey Norman

“Absolutely disgusting, critical family violence services have also had their pages wiped by Facebook,” wrote one Daily Telegraph user.

Public pages on the platform including the Bureau of Meteorology, Neighbourhood Watch, Victoria Police, South Australia and Queensland Health — even parody sites Betoota Advocate and The Chaser — have had their content impacted.

Major news organisations including News Corp and local community news pages were also blank along with electronics retailer Harvey Norman, AFL Women, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.

 

The news comes after it was revealed that Facebook archrival Google has agreed to pay Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for content from the Companies worldwide news sites.

News Corporation said it would be sharing its stories in exchange for “significant payments”.

Mr Murdoch has long called for Google and other internet platforms to pay media companies for their output.

“This has been a passionate cause for our company for well over a decade and I am gratified that the terms of trade are changing, not just for News Corp, but for every publisher,” said Robert Thomson, News Corporation chief executive.

The company owns The Daily Telegraph the UK Sun, The Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Australian, among other publications.

“For many years, we were accused of tilting at tech windmills, but what was a solitary campaign, a quixotic quest, has become a movement, and both journalism and society will be enhanced,” Mr Thomson said.

Easton tried to claim that Facebook and Google had significantly different relationships with news, with publishers voluntarily providing and sharing their news on Facebook, while with Google, they don’t have that choice. A claim that has been disputed by Google.

Facebook told Australian government in their submissions “the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favour of the publishers — which is the reverse of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to assume.

As a result of the legislation Easton added: “We will now prioritise investments to other countries, as part of our plans to invest in new licensing news programs and experiences.”

The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg wrote on Twitter: “This morning, I had a constructive discussion with Mark Zuckerberg from #Facebook. He raised a few remaining issues with the Government’s news media bargaining code, and we agreed to continue our conversation to try to find a pathway forward.”

Mumbrella reported that the Australian Government would amend the News Media Bargaining Code, altering key aspects including the requirement of platforms to give publishers notice of algorithm changes.

It also stated payments would be lump sum, he explained clearly the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s role during arbitration, and said it would ensure existing contracts are not interfered with.

The landmark News Corp three-year agreement with Google also includes the development of a subscription platform, the sharing of ad revenue via Google’s ad technology services.

 

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