As you might’ve heard, as of today Facebook has pulled all Australian news from the platform. The standoff between Facebook and Google with Australian lawmakers has been months in the making.
Facebook’s decision to restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing and viewing local and international news is a response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission proposed legislation that requires Facebook and Google to negotiate with media publishers and pay them for their content.
Facebook made the decision to push back against this new law, arguing that it unfairly “penalises” a platform that has been advantageous to the media industry (to their credit, it has). Whilst arguing that their platform, at its core, is a social networking site, that merely acts as a conduit for news.
“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” William Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia & New Zealand, said in a statement about Australia’s legislation.
“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.”
So now that you’ve got the TLDR on why the fuck your Facebook feeds is void of news and probably oversaturated with photos of your distant cousins ugly infant children, let’s break down what this means for the future of your timeline.
Facebook is in the midst of undoing their widespread ban on mistargeted pages
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When Facebook first installed a widespread ban on Australian publishers, it took a number of government organisations — like emergency services and weather forecasters — down with it.
Organisations like Fire and Rescue NSW, Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA, SA Health and Queensland Health all had their pages wiped this morning. In the hours since, Facebook has slowly, but surely, been working to reverse the ban on “inadvertently impacted” pages.
Whilst the majority of Australian media remain choking on Zuckerberg’s ball-gag, Facebook has granted news sharing permission to parody publications The Betoota Advocate and The Chaser. If only they recognised that my entire life is a parody, thus my work is also a parody.
So what does this mean for you?
I mean, if you rely on Facebook for your news, a fair bit, if not, you can continue living in your comfortable silo of falling down Tasty video rabbit holes.
Essentially, local news stories have been indefinitely banned and will not appear on your timeline. So if you had any hopes of reading a succulent scoop about a fibreglass pig mysteriously appearing on the roof of an Adelaide restaurant, I’ve got some bad news for you.
“The actions we’re taking are focused on restricting publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content,” Facebook explained in a statement.
It’s all a bit weird, depressing and bleak. It’s brought the totalitarian powers of Mark Zuckerberg and Big Tech to the forefront and sent me spiralling into a state of abjectness.
Is there any way around it?
Though if you wanted to continue to support the work that we do, may we gently direct you to our carefully-curated newsletter database, The Brag Observer.
We started preparing for this day in 2020. When the industry whispers turned to stern threats we launched The Brag Observer, our newsletter network.
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