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Yes, it’s all over the… news right now.
Tech monopoly Facebook has officially banned Australians from sharing locally produced news content on their website as of this morning.
That means we are officially blocked from posting or receiving news from publishers’ Facebook pages, including news organisations like the ABC, non-profits and academic resources.
It’s a complete disaster.
So why is this happening?
Why do you think?
Money. It’s always about the money.
As if Facebook doesn’t have enough already. But that’s the problem with monopolies. They just want more and more. And Facebook is getting far too big for its boots.
The problem with the business model has been this: Media organisations make the content, the tech giants like Facebook and Google share the content, and the tech giants get ALL the advertising revenue from it.
This has sparked a stand-off with the federal government, which escalated in a major way with this morning’s controversial outcome.
Okay. I see where the Australian government is coming from. But come on, really, Facebook? Is it that hard to give a little back? You know you owe it to us.
Then again, most of this is to the benefit of Murdoch’s pocket.
It’s evil versus evil, and it’s frankly unnecessary.
Facebook, of course, feels otherwise. They’ve issued a statement that claims they were “faced with a stark choice between attempting to comply with a law, or banning news content on its services in Australia – and “with a heavy heart” it was choosing the latter” (ABC News).
Heavy heart, indeed. A company worth $528 billion can’t spare a little cash for the small guy. (I think Murdoch is quite short, right?)
At least Google is slowly changing its tune. We nearly saw a complete ban from the search engine giant earlier this year, under very similar circumstances.
What’s most concerning through all this, though, are the health and safety repercussions that this will have across local communities who rely on Facebook for vital information.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese posted a status on his Facebook this morning, outlining his concerns.
“During a global pandemic, Australians can’t access state health departments on Facebook. On a day of flood and fire warnings in Queensland and WA, Australians can’t access the Bureau of Meteorology on Facebook.
The Morrison Government needs to fix this today.”
Fortunately, it was only a status update so we were able to read it.
Facebook has since followed up with a statement urging that government pages should not be impacted, but it’s unclear as to what will happen now.
In the meantime, the standard of news content on Facebook is guaranteed to drop.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has said that the information people see on Facebook will no longer come from organisations with a fact-checking capability, paid journalists or editorial policies.
Sounds like fake news to me.