Can Facebook bludgeon Australia into submission?
Can Facebook do what China failed to do?
- Facebook has banned users in Australia from accessing or sharing news content
- Move comes as politicians vote on law to charge tech giants for hosting news
- Furious PM said it proves tech firms ‘think they’re bigger than governments’
- PM vowed ‘we will not be intimidated’ as others called it an ‘assault on the nation’
PUBLISHED: 07:30 GMT, 18 February 2021 | UPDATED: 09:53 GMT, 18 February 2021
Facebook has blocked Australians from accessing and sharing news in protest at a new law which would have forced the site to pay for the content it hosts.
Furious Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the move shows tech companies ‘think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them’ while others branded it ‘an assault on a sovereign nation’ and an ‘abuse of power’.
The backlash quickly went international, with one Democrat politician in the US saying it shows ‘Facebook is not compatible with democracy’ while the hashtag ‘Delete Facebook’ quickly began trending on rival site Twitter.
Australians searching Facebook for news today were instead shown notifications saying ‘no posts’ were available. Attempting to share news links brought up a message saying ‘this post can’t be shared’.
But the shock move also stopped some government messages being shared, including from emergency services providing essential information on Covid, fires, and help for victims of domestic violence.
Charities, foodbanks and at least one missing persons page were also caught up in the ban.
Facebook unfriends Australia: News sites go dark in content row
SYDNEY — Australians woke to empty news feeds on their Facebook pages on Thursday (Feb 18) after the social media giant blocked all media content in a surprise and dramatic escalation of a dispute with the government over paying for content.
The move was swiftly criticised 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’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote on his own Facebook page, using the vernacular for cutting ties with another person on the site.
“These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of Big Tech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them.
“Facebook’s dramatic move represents a split from Alphabet-owned Google after they joined together for years to campaign against the laws. Both had threatened to cancel services in Australia, but Google has instead sealed preemptive deals with several outlets in recent days.
Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/world/facebook-news-goes-dark-australia-content-payment-dispute-grows?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
- Ex Facebook Australia and NZ CEO Stephen Scheeler blasted the news ban
- He encouraged Aussies to delete the app to send a message to the company
- Mr Scheeler said CEO Mark Zuckerberg is motivated by money and power
- Facebook from Thursday blocked Australians from reading and sharing news
PUBLISHED: 09:40 GMT, 18 February 2021 | UPDATED: 09:53 GMT, 18 February 202
Fed-up Aussies share their final words on Facebook before deleting their profiles for good – as #BoycottZuckerberg gains traction on Twitter in wake of the news ban
- Australians are posting their final words on Facebook as they delete accounts
- They are protesting the social media giants decision to ban Australian news
- Facebook was Australia’s most used social media site in 2019 with 17M users
PUBLISHED: 08:22 GMT, 18 February 2021 | UPDATED: 09:17 GMT, 18 February 2021
The hashtags #DeleteFacebook and #BoycottZuckerberg are trending on Twitter as some Australians delete their profiles to protest the platform’s news ban.
Outraged users are sharing their final Facebook posts and asking friends to send their phone numbers before they delete the platform for good.
Facebook has banned Australian news outlets from sharing content, and has also inadvertently blocked charities, government agencies and smaller businesses.
Former Deputy Mayor of Maribyrnong, Victoria, Megan Bridger-Darling, deleted her Facebook account on Thursday and told followers they could find her on ‘Twitter, email, phone, and occasionally in the news.’
‘If Facebook won’t support our journalists, I won’t support them,’ wrote Ms Bridger-Darling.
‘I choose reliable news sources over a platform that benefits and enables anti-vaxxers, klan members, doxxers, fear-mongerers, and extremists to peddle their messages entirely unopposed.’