In a massive escalation in the growing tensions between Facebook and the Australian government, Facebook has now banned all news media from Australia from being placed on its platform. The tensions grew over new regulations seeking to compel Facebook to pay for news content from Australian media which it shares on its platform. Now in a firm and frontal attack by the social networking site, it has asserted its importance by shutting out all news media, including the pages of government agencies and parastatals who increasingly use Facebook for information dissemination.
In a statement on Wednesday Facebook had said that people and publishers in Australia will subsequently be unable to share or see any news content from local or international outlets.
The Facebook pages of many Australian government agencies seem to have been one of the major casualties so far in the unfolding imbroglio. Several Australians have noted that the official Facebook pages of several government departments and agencies have been blank, including the fire department and the meteorological agency, many of whom had used the Facebook platform to disseminate weather warnings, fire, and so on.
In a blog post, Facebook’s executive, Campbell Brown asserted that what the proposed Australian law failed to take into consideration was that it failed to recognize the fundamental nature of the relationship between Facebook and the Australian publishers of news content. Campbell said that contrary to what had been suggested by some uninformed proponents of the new regulations, Facebook indeed does not steal news content, but publishers choose to share their stories on Facebook, which then becomes visible to users on the platform.
Some have already accused Facebook of pursuing a vendetta against the public by shutting out news from these public pages.
The news ban has already been met with confusion and criticism in the country. Facebook has responded to the sharp criticism of its action and said it will reverse pages “inadvertently impacted” by its decision to enforce the media ban.
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